On Monday, the Internet hactivist group Anonymous decided to take on yet another alleged high school sexual assault scandal, with many observers comparing the group’s new vigilante justice effort to their laudable work with the Steubenville rape case.
Officials in Maryville, Missouri are being pressured by Anonymous to investigate the alleged assault and rape of two girls by football players at the local high school, which resulted in such extreme ostracization of the victims that they were forced to flee town.
The house of one of the families was even burned down, though officials have not linked the event to the rape case.
As they usually do, Anonymous released a video to YouTube announcing the campaign, dubbed #opMaryville. As has happened in the past, YouTube quickly intervened and blocked the video from Anonymous’ channel.
On the crypt0nymous Tumblr page, a representative for the group announced the takedown citing a violation of the community guidelines. Anonymous is now petitioning YouTube for the specific guideline violation that led to the takedown.
“Since when is helping a rape victim an act of spam, scams, and commercially deceptive?” Anonymous argues. “The video was uploaded on October 14, so why did YouTUBE started to censor this video 2 days after the upload. Mainstream media, blogs, social networks etc. pick up this topic (including the video) and rised up to a national topic. The video raised to 130.000+ views until it was censored by the YouTUBE Team.”
YouTube has taken down Anonymous videos in the past, and even shut down an Anonymous video account without providing reason last year. After a massive social and media outcry, the channel was later restored with no explanation.
In addition to video restoration, Anonymous’ patience with YouTube seems to be wearing thin. The outright accusations and criticism contained in their blog post seem to suggest that Anonymous is more interested in provoking Google’s video sharing site into finally giving an explanation for their seemingly arbitrary takedown policies.
“If YouTUBE… YouRAPE will not publish a statement with a detailed explanation which ‘Community Guideline’ was hurt with this video, this was, is and always will be a form of censorship not only regarding the video, also the Daisy and the horrible thing that happened to her.
“We don’t care about mainstream media attention, we care about people. We want justice! #opMaryville.”
You can follow Anonymous’ coverage of the Maryville rape case on Twitter, where they’re using #opMaryville and #justice4daisy as hashtags.