One of the self-proclaimed founders of the hacktivist group Anonymous has come out of retirement to take on conspiracy theory cult QAnon. And just when you thought Trump vs Biden was the biggest rivalry of 2020.
Aubrey Cottle, a long-time member of Anonymous, was unmasked to the public in an interview with The Atlantic earlier this year. In a Reddit AMA Cottle announced he has re-emerged with the goal of “bringing the QAnon game to a conclusion.”
The Anonymous vs. QAnon War
QAnon emerged in the U.S. as a far-right conspiracy theory that alleges strange ideas such as Trump fighting Satan-worshipping pedophiles hidden in powerful positions. While there is no evidence to support any of QAnon’s theories, the movement has gained traction in recent years. Companies such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have attempted to block QAnon content from their sites. But the movement has managed to survive internationally, even down here in Australia.
Anonymous is an online network of activists, many of which are also hackers, who are devoted to libertarian ideals such as personal freedom. The group are often recognisable for their use of the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta in their videos.
Anonymous re-emerged in a big way earlier this year as the Black Lives Matter movement instigated around the world. But they originally declared war on QAnon back in 2018. Operation QAnon was launched by Anonymous with a video that vowed: “we will not sit idly by while you take advantage of the misinformed and poorly educated.” Yikes.
The Anonymous ‘founder’ is back on the frontlines
Now one of Anonymous’ original members is back out of retirement to fight the cult that is QAnon.
Cottle called QAnon a “menace warping minds around the world.” He said he had been working freelance for software engineering companies for a while but abandoned everything to focus on QAnon.
The plan is to “pull the mask off the charlatans crafting this out-of-control ARG (Alternate Reality Game) gone wrong,” and “wipe out as much of their presence as possible on social networks and de-platform them.” There have been many debates over who the original ‘Q’ that started QAnon is. But Anonymous has claimed to know who the founder is and plans to expose them.
Users asked Cottle how they could help with the QAnon situation and he implored them to report QAnon posts and posters and spread awareness about the situation. Cottle also said that the QAnon situation is incredibly dangerous considering “the U.S. is on the verge of a full-blown civil war and these QAnon ‘useful idiots’ are on the frontlines.”
In other news, Cottle also discussed his Amiibo collection and shared some internet security tips during the Q&A.
Update: Users have contacted Gizmodo Australia questioning the validity of Cottle’s status as the founder of Anonymous. We have updated the language to reflect this.