Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many on-line community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain. It is also generally considered a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.
In its early form, a dishonest, on-line community acting anonymously in a fashion manner, usually toward a loosely self-agreed goal, and primarily focused on entertainment originally has adopted them. As of 2008, the Anonymous collective has become increasingly associated with collaborative, international hacktivism, undertaking protests and other actions, often with the goal of promoting internet freedom and freedom of speech. Unidentified individuals who apply the Anonymous label to themselves as attribution undertake actions credited to “Anonymous”. Although not necessarily tied to a single on-line entity, many websites are strongly associated with Anonymous. This includes notable imageboards such as 4chan and Futaba, their associated wikis, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and a number of forums. After a series of controversial, widely publicized protests and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous in 2008, incidents linked to its cadre members have increased. In consideration of its capabilities, posited by CNN, they are to be the successor of WikiLeaks.