After a week of back-and-forth online, the self-proclaimed hacktivist collective Anonymous took control of the Ku Klux Klan’s Twitter account Sunday afternoon, tech site ZDNet reported.
The operation, known on Twitter as #OpKKK, has targeted local Klan members by publicly identifying them through social media, as well as taking over the Missouri Klan group’s Twitter account. As of today, for example, the information on the Klan’s twitter account read, “Under anon control as of 16 NOV 2014 09:11:47. You should’ve expected us.”
In a video statement posted to YouTube, Anonymous claimed the KKK was targeted because of its threats to use violence in the town where Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in August, not because of the Klan’s white nationalist beliefs.
“Due to your actions we started Operation KKK,” Anonymous claimed in a video. “The aim of our operation is nothing more than Cyber Warfare. Anything you upload will be taken down, anything you use to promote the KKK will be shut down.”
The action comes in the wake of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK distributing fliers in Ferguson saying that protestors had “awakened a sleeping giant,” and that demonstrators have threatened the lives of law enforcement, the community and their families, Huffington Post reported.
“We will not sit by and allow you to harm our families, communities, property nor disrupt our daily lives. Your right to freedom of speech does not give you the right to terrorize citizens,” the flier read. “We will use lethal force as provided under Missouri Law to defend ourselves. … You have been warned by the Ku Klux Klan! There will be consequences for your actions against the peaceful, law abiding citizens of Missouri.”
Frank Ancona, the leader of the KKK chapter in Missouri, defended the Klan’s objective to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes by explaining, “There are remedies under the law. The flier, if you read it, it says ‘defend,’ it talks about defense. So, in order to defend yourself, that means you’re being attacked.”
This isn’t the first time the hacktivist group has gone after the racist radical right. In 2012, Anonymous declared “Operation Blitzkrieg” against neo-Nazi and other hate group websites—a program that inflicted unprecedented damage on many of the racist sites and releasing an avalanche of personal information about supporters.