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Anonymous hackers’ Twitter account suspended, reinstated

February 20, 2013 | Posted in News

For the second time in a month, one of the Twitter accounts used by the hacking group known as Anonymous was suspended. But this time the account, @YourAnonNews, with more than three-quarter of a million followers, was reinstated.

"You can't suspend an idea," @YourAnonNews tweeted Wednesday.

Indeed, you can't, but the Twitter account was suspended briefly Wednesday; Twitter told NBC News it doesn't comment on "individual accounts for privacy and security reasons." The @YourAnonNews account is one of the hacking collective's most followed on the short messaging blog.

Anonymous had announced it planned to digitally attack Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, with some of its members planning to picket funerals of the children killed in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The church is notorious for its pickets of military funerals, with members carrying signs blaming the deaths as "God's punishment" for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

An image was posted by Anonymous showing the Social Security number of the church's spokeswoman, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said TechNewsDaily, in violation of Twitter's Terms of Service.

Twitter's ToS says the site has the right to "remove or refuse to distribute" content, or to suspend or terminate users who violate those terms, which include rules about privacy, publishing or posting specific threats of violence, impersonation, copyright or unlawful use.

The photo posting may have been what got the Anonymous account in trouble, according to this reference from a message from Twitter, which said, in part:

Your account has been suspended for posting an individual's private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents ... it is a violation of the Twitter Rules to post the private and confidential information of others.

Even Anonymous reminded its followers Thursday to "Read our guide to legal relations so you won't get banned from social networks." That guide says:

If you publish anything illegal on a social network your account will get banned. Posting any personal information is a total no-go and will get you banned in less than 24 hours.

In late November, the group's "FreeOpSyriaIRC" Twitter account was suspended as Anonymous worked to shut down Syrian government websites after a nationwide Internet blackout there, and to try to provide alternative means of Internet connections for Syrians.

"We don't comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons," a Twitter spokesman told NBC News at that time.

The "FreeOpSyriaIRC" Twitter account remains suspended.

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