Anonymous Vows to Topple Facebook, But Is It a Hoax?

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Pro hacker tip: When you’re planning to hack someone, don’t tell them in advance. More importantly, don’t tell them exactly when you’re planning to rock their universe.

But that’s just what a video purportedly by hacktivist collective Anonymous does, boasting of an upcoming attack on Facebook, and setting the data for November 5, 2011. As in: “Remember, remember, the 5th of November,” the poetic paean to Guy Fawkes, the fellow who in 1605 attempted (unsuccessfully) to blow up Parliament in London by stuffing the basement with barrels of gunpowder.

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The new video’s computerized voice and visual production quality is markedly lower than prior videos associated with the group, which—alongside the boldly (or, you know, moronically) specific date for the attack, “Nov 5 2011″—raises serious questions about its authenticity. The video was uploaded to a newly created “FacebookOp” account in mid-July, but the media caught wind of the story just this week, prompting a coverage blizzard.

“Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed,” drones the narrator in the video. “If you are a willing activist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy.”

The video alleges Facebook’s been helping governments spy on people internationally, and claims “everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook, regardless of your privacy settings and deleting your account is impossible.”

“Even if you delete your account all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time,” continues the narrator. “Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more private is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.”

But the video’s not yet been referenced by any of Anonymous’ “official” websites or Twitter accounts. That, and security expert Eugene Kapersky (of Kapersky Lab, the security company) says it’s probably just a hoax.

“The news around #Anonymous to attack #Facebook on Nov 5 most probably is fake,” wrote Kapersky on Twitter today, adding “Interestingly the news first appeared weeks ago but gained popularity just yesterday,” and cautioning to “Also pay attention to the strange Twitter name they used and links to websites with adverts.”

In other words, nice try FacebookOp, but no one’s buying it.

MORE: Anonymous and LulzSec Fire Back at Police with Lethal Data Dump

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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