Just days after the attacks in Paris, ISIS became the target of one of the world’s biggest vigilante anti-terrorism campaigns. In a widely distributed video, a figure wearing a Guy Fawkes mask publicly declared war on ISIS, promising that “Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down.” ISIS had already been a favored target for Anonymous groups, with #OpISIS kicking off in January, but the horrifying attacks drove thousands of new eyes to the cause. By Monday, Pastebin was filled with more campaigns, including #OpExposeIsis, #OpIceIsis and #OpPrayForParis, filling up the site’s Trending page for days afterwards.
But while the new activists have inspired a lot of activity, there are real questions about whether they’re helping the broader fight against ISIS or simply muddying the waters. Intelligence agencies and journalists often track the group’s online footprint, looking for insights into the group’s larger movements, but Anonymous’ stated goal is to drive the group out of online spaces entirely. Reconciling those two goals now seems harder than ever.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.