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Anonymous Internet Men vs Zynga

Lovely friendly smiley Zynga boss Mark Pincus OH WAIT

CEASE IMMEDIATELY THE PLAN.

That’s hacker collective Anonymous’ demand to Farmville makers/financial black hole-creators Zynga. Anonymous – or, at least, someone claiming to represent them – purport to be angered by Zynga’s alleged plans for a “massive layoff of a thousand people” and a move to outsourced development in India. This plan is, I believe, unconfirmed, but one thing’s for sure – Zynga are in a world of money-pain and taking a brutal knife to their headcount, even if they’re still not exactly short of a bob or two. With something of a history of mercenary behaviour, it won’t surprise anyone if more lay-offs are on the way.

So what does Anonymous plan to do in protest? Well, they claim to have been into Zynga’s servers and come back with a load of confidential data, including unreleased games.

Unless Zynga pledges to cease its alleged redundancy/outsourcing plans, Anonymous will gradually release all this stuff. They’ve already made a first salvo public, though it doesn’t appear to contain anything the world doesn’t already know about Zynga, but more stringent action is promised if Zynga does not “cease immediately the plan.”

The… odd English in Anonymous’ open letter/threat (and indeed in their transcript of alleged internal Zynga memos) and the somewhat unfocused nature of their claims and demands raises many questions about what they’ve actually got and how capable they are of realising their goals, but certainly Anonymous has a history of causing huge problems for those they target.

The Internet sure doesn’t like Zynga, and so such an attack was perhaps always just a matter of time. It’s probably no coincdence that it’s been threatened while the Farmville mob are severely weakened and haemorrhaging staff both senior and junior. Let’s hope worried development staff who aren’t behind Zynga’s more unsavoury behaviour aren’t made to suffer for the perceived crimes of their bosses.

You can read Anonymous’ full, strangely-worded letter here, but I’ve pasted perhaps the most salient part of it below.

Zynga customers and Facebook users , We are anonymous . During the last few days anonymous has been targeting Zynga for the outrageous treatment of their employees and their actions against many developers .

We have come to believe that this actions of Zynga will result in massive layoff 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 US game market as we know it as all this 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 the plan.

CEASE IMMEDIATELY THE PLAN.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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