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 feud began after the KKK’s Traditionalist American Knights allegedly threatened to use “lethal force” on protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, and ended with the group’s two primary social media accounts hacked.
Protests were sparked after the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, a case expected to be decided by grand jury this week. The pending decision has caused an increase in gun sales in the area.
ZDNet was also sent an unconfirmed statement claiming that Anonymous also compromised KKK member email accounts and had begun a phone harassment campaign.
“Based on the direct messages sent from and to this account, we can confirm that this account was run by an official Klan member,” read one of the latest Tweets sent out by the reportedly hacked account, @KuKluxKlanUSA.
Another tweet from the account promised further statement from the hackers on the compromised account Monday.
The Klan’s second hacked account, @YourKKKcentral, displayed more brash language and crude imagery, one of the latest tweets saying “(Expletive) the KKK,” with an embedded punk rock video of the same title.
This contrast in messaging style illustrates the nature of the hacker group, which seems to have no structure beyond a few social media accounts, including @YourAnonNews, claiming to be the groups central voice.
Some are calling the Anonymous attacks a fettering of the Klan’s First Amendment right to free speech, to which the decentralized hacker group claims it’s the threat of violence against protestors that set it off.
KKK leader Frank Ancona appeared on MSNBC Wednesday repeating the threats against protestors and claimed an increase in recruitment as a result, the St. Louis Riverfront Times reported.
“Operation Ferguson” is one in a long string of attacks against government and corporate groups. Last month, Anonymous claimed to have seized control of several corporate websites in Hong Kong amid reports of protestors being treated poorly there and in November 2013, the group allegedly targeted the U.S. National Security Agency for its role in collecting private information on its citizens.