As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange regals in the news that the Swedish authorities were unsuccessful in having his bail revoked, his anarchist supporters Anonymous look set to continue to show their support following their attacks on MasterCard and Visa, with a change in tactics through crowdsourced journalism. Their latest venture entitled “Operation: Leakspin” moves away from the revenge attacks on those companies who withdrew their support of the whistle blowing site, and focus more on the contents of the leaked US diplomatic cables.
The call is for anyone interested in furthering the Wikileaks mission to begin a search of the 250,000 plus documents it claims to possess, sifting out the best, least exposed leaks available. Once found, visitors are asked to post summaries of them on any forum, along with the complete source, even post a video on YouTube, summarising the leaked document and encourage as many people to read and pass on. The operation suggests using misleading tags featuring popular topics such as “Justin Bieber” or even “Tea Party Movement” to connect with as many people as possible, a popular technique often used to attract hits.
Ethical concerns aside, the Wikileaks release of the diplomatic cables has whetted the appetites and peaked the curiosity of bloggers, journalists and the public at the large to the extent that such an invitation to view first hand the leaked documents would be difficult to resist. It should be noted however that this not an entirely new idea when you consider that similar exercises by Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail’s project to crowdsource WikiLeaks’ most revealing diplomatic cables worldwide, or The Washington Post’s Top Secret America. It is, however, potentially the biggest venture of its kind given the global interest generated. Social news website Reddit is aiding in this exercise by launching the leakspin subreddit, a collaborative platform to essentially sift through the cables for those that are most likely to be in the public interest and rate them accordingly.
Leakspin’s goal is not just to continue bombarding the media with as many embarrassing revelations. The WikiLeaks documents are freely available for all to peruse. By using crowdsourced journalism Leakspin can help avoid the embarrassment of the recent reporting by Pakistani newspapers on WikiLeaks cables concerning the Indian army. It provides an opportunity to recruit help in ascertaining the legitimacy of the documents on show.