Anonymous often alleges it’s “doing it for the lulz.” This time, the joke may have been on them.
The hacker collective hyped a real-life global Sony boycott over the weekend in retaliation to the company’s treatment of George Hotz and Alexander Egorenkov (AKA graf_chokolo). Despite a Facebook event page and the group’s own official news site spreading the word, a less-than-expected number of supporters ended up trekking to Sony stores on Saturday for the sit-in.
Over 4,000 people claimed they would show up in solidarity and tell Sony, well, something about not messing with hackers or consumer rights. But as anyone who’s used the social networking site for event planning could tell, those RSVPs don’t necessarily mean a thing.
If the meager turnout wasn’t enough, Anonymous’ “Operation SONY” Facebook page is riddled with jabs at the cause and its organizer, including a childish video that ironically calls the group “14-year-old middle class nerds.” Another posted video features an apparently inebriated man urinating on a “Boycott Sony” flyer he claims to have received while shopping at Sony store.
A few issues may have hindered the boycott from accomplishing its stated goals.
Shortly after the event was scheduled George Hotz had settled out-of-court with Sony, leaving Egorenkov, a Germany-based hacker still fighting the company, as the sole named motivator behind the boycott. Anonymous’ claim that it was “fighting for consumer rights,” while noble in thought, came back to haunt the group after it engaged in its calling card cyber warfare. DDoS attacks against public Sony sites that many claimed also hit the company’s PlayStation Network directly impacted consumers using the PlayStation 3 for online shopping and gaming. It’s tough to proclaim you’re fighting for consumer rights when you’re adversely affecting consumers.
Another hurdle for the internet group is one not easily leaped: image.
While protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks and three-piece suits make for attention-grabbing eye-candy to compliment snarky blog posts, it’s likely to draw more derision than dedication in the real world.
Did you happen to stop by any Sony stores this weekend and witness anything resembling a boycott? Please share your experiences (or lack thereof) in the comments section!