Time magazine readers name Anonymous ‘most influential person’

ime magazine today revealed its list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Anonymous got the popular vote, but the hacktivist group didn’t win in the end. Jeremy Lin was picked instead.

Time’s 2012 poll closed last week, and as you can see in the screenshot above, Anonymous was the clear winner with 395,793 positive votes, over 100,000 votes more than second place. You can see the full poll results here: The 2012 TIME 100 Poll.

Despite that, Time magazine still decided not to pick Anonymous as first. Anonymous didn’t make the top 10. Anonymous didn’t even make the top 25.

Anonymous was placed in 36th place. That’s right; you have to scroll just to see Anonymous being mentioned: The 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Here’s how Time described the group:

United, if at all, by a taste for shock humor and disdain for authority, this leaderless Internet hive brain is plundering and playing in the electronic networks of an ever shifting enemies list: Arab dictatorships, the Vatican, banking and entertainment firms, the FBI and CIA, the security firm Stratfor and even San Francisco’s BART transport system. Did Anonymous fix the TIME 100 poll? “Depends who you think is smarter, a global collective of highly skilled hackers or the TIME IT department,” says one fellow traveler, anonymously. Anonymous earned its place on the list, one way or the other.

Allegations of hacking the Time poll are of course nothing new. Three years ago, 4chan hackers took advantage of the lack of authentication or validation of the online process and used “autovoters” to inundate the poll with millions of votes for “moot,” the pseudonym of Christopher Poole, operator of 4chan. He had 16,793,669 votes compared to the second place of 2,315,774.

This time around, the group Anonymous, the name of which by the way originated from the Internet meme started on 4chan, won by a landslide, though it wasn’t that huge of a victory. It would surprise no one if Anonymous cheated its way into this year’s poll, which by the way required authentication this time around, because after all, they are a bunch of hackers.

Something tells me that the group didn’t cheat though, because if it did, the victory would have been significantly greater. While writing my various stories about Anonymous over the past month or so (see links below), I did see many Twitter accounts (which by the way have hundreds of thousands of followers), urging people to vote for Anonymous in Time’s poll. That would have done the trick.

In short, I think Anonymous was going to win this year, one way or another. It’s sad that Time magazine didn’t name the group first, although you can argue Anonymous isn’t technically one person. It’s really an idea.

- ZDNet

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