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Facebook Inc. (FB): ‘Anonymous’ Threatens Site Shutdown

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) does not own Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA), the online game developer that reached its height of popularity in the years before Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) changed to the current “Timeline” format for user profiles and Walls. Now though, Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has taken a huge beating with other online game companies dramatically increasing competition int he space, to the point that the company is considering a large number of job layoffs and perhaps moving some operations into foreign countries.

Facebook Inc. (FB)

That move has apparently drawn the attention of the hacker group ‘Anonymous,’ as it has sent out a warning to Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) that it is prepared to shut down the social-network site this coming Monday, November 5, essentially blaming Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) for the apparent demise of Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA). While it seems pretty courteous and polite or ‘Anonymous’ to warn Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and its 1 billion users to warn them, is this “attack” directed in the right place? How would a shutdown of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) affect users and investors in the stock, like billionaire fund manager George Soros of Soros Fund Management?

In a statement from the hacker group, posted on its press-release Web site (edited for grammar), “During the last few days (A)nonymous has been targeting Zynga for the outrageous treatment of (its) employees and actions against many developers. We have come to believe that (these) actions of Zynga will result in massive layoffs of a thousand people and legal actions against everyone that speaks to the public about this plan. It will also come to end of the U.S. game market as we know it as all (these) jobs will be replaced in other more convenient financial countries. With a billion dollars cash sitting in a bank we do believe that such actions are an insult to the population, and the behaviour of corporations like Zynga must change. Anonymous could not allow this to happen so it’s starting to release confidential documents we have leaked on this plan. As we speak we are planning to release also all the games we’ve taken from their servers for free. That being said, we will stop the idea of the distribution of such games if Zynga will cease immediately.”

Whether Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ:ANGA) knows about this or will do anything about it remains to be seen, and whether this is a bluff is also up for debate. But it will be interesting to see if Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) does take this seriously and what steps it can or will take to try to head off or mitigate the effects of this attack on the use of the social-media site Monday. Of course, Hurricane Sandy already may have an effect on users and their access to the site.

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