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Social Media Warfare Rangers and Activists

Rangers are generally rather secretive people with special talents and abilities that distinguish them and set them apart. They often work and live on the fringes of society and remain secluded but in touch with the world around them. Rangers ultimately work for a cause although their methods are not always in line with social norms and conventions.

Anonymous is a loosely knit group of hacktivists that hack or break into computer systems. They are motivated by social justice causes. They are social media warfare rangers and have been credited with hacking actions against the Church of Scientology, the United States, Israel, Tunisia, as well as the systems of other countries. They have also taken on the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), child pornography sites, and the Westboro Baptist Church. Corporate hacks allegedly have included PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Sony. Anonymous has supported WikiLeaks and the Occupy movement [2,3]. The activities ofAnonymous have been celebrated and appreciated by people who believe in the value of social justice and the fight against evil no matter where it lurks because that fight is in the public interest. Guy Fawkes masks are also popular among these social justice seekers.

Another group of social media warfare rangers are the people who support and provide journalistic services to the WikiLeaks organization. WikiLeaks is a global media organization and library founded by publisher Julian Assange in 2006. It has published more than 10 million documents of classified or otherwise restricted official materials related to war, spying, and corruption. WikiLeaks has a relationship and secure communication links with over 100 important media organizations around the world. WikiLeaks has won numerous journalism awards [4].

Many hacking collectives have come and gone over the last 40 years; some developed reputations for pursuing social justice, including Goatse Security, Chaos Computer Club, and the Hacking Team. There have also been many Internet activists who have used social media to support and promote their work on environmental protection, human rights, and transparency in government. Internet activists are basically volunteers who come together based on shared beliefs and the desire to work for change.

There are also several non-profit organizations that fight for Internet freedom that are involved in educational efforts as well as lobbying and Internet activism. The Free Press, for example “fights to save the free and open internet, curb runaway media consolidation, protect press freedom, and ensure diverse voices are represented in our media” ( [5]. “The Declaration of Internet Freedom” ( is supported by the Free Press. The intent of the declaration is to keep the Internet free and open. “The Declaration of Internet Freedom” is also supported by numerous activist organizations that support freedom and human rights, including the Alliance for Community Media, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Media Mobilizing Project [6].

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