Origin: From Lulz to Political Action
Anonymous took form in 2003 on the online message board 4chan (think yesteryear’s Reddit, which proliferates meme culture). The anonymity of the website spawned a group of pranksters, from which the politically geared Anonymous of today has evolved. Users on 4chan could post images and messages under the name “anonymous” or “moot” (nickname of 4chan’s then 15-year-old founder Christopher Poole).
Cole Stryker, author of Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4Chan’s Army Conquered the Web has been following the evolution of Anonymous since its inception. “I was interested in this whole culture of Anonymous that tracks down people and harasses them,” Stryker told Mashable. “And from there, Anonymous as a political activist group evolving away from the little more trollish activities. They were attacking the Church of Scientology and starting to go after Sony and a couple of other huge companies.”