Anonymous has posted a warning that it plans to shut down Facebook and Zynga. The group says Facebook will be taken down and Zynga games released free to the public on November 5 if the company does not stop plans for layoffs and outsourcing of jobs.
According to the Daily Mail, the hacktivists are threatening Zynga because of "the outrageous treatment of their employees and their actions against many developers."
The announcement was made by a member of the group in a video posted to YouTube on Sunday (The video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy on depiction of harmful activities).
The member wore the Guy Fawkes mask Anonymous has become known for.
Anonymous said: "On November the fifth we will release the key to the (Zynga games) data files. Remember, remember the 5th of November."
November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day, that commemorates the rebellion in which Fawkes and a group of Roman Catholic conspirators planned to blow up the British Parliament.
The hackers said, in a posting to AnonNews.org, that they will implement an operation they dub #OP maZYNGA in retaliation against plans to layoff staff. Business Insider reports the hacker group says it has information that Zynga plans a "massive layoff of a thousand people." Anonymous criticized the decision saying that "with billion dollars in cash sitting in a bank we do believe that such actions are an insult to the population and the behavior of corporations like Zynga must change."
The hacktivists claim they have accessed Zynga's server and have obtained a confidential memo to the company's officials about plans for layoffs and outsourcing to Bangalore, India.
The group says that in the next phase of #OP maZYNGA, they will release Zynga games to the public for free and shut down both Zynga and Facebook.
Business Insider reports the Anonymous threat comes a week after Zynga said it has $1.6 billion in cash and marketable securities.The company also said it laid off 150 employees and there were rumors of bigger layoffs before the Anonymous announcement.
According to the Daily Mail, Zynga had announced it would layoff 5 percent of its staff, about 3,000, shut down its office in Boston and cut down on staff at its Austin branch. The company is also reportedly planning to wind up operations in UK and Japan.
Zynga revealed its restructuring plan after a disappointing Q3 earnings report released on October 24. Zynga posted a loss of $52.7 million or 7 cents per share in the last quarter, the Daily Mail reports.
According to Zynga CEO Mark Princus, in a memo to staff last week, the layoffs are necessary to "streamline operations, focus resources on our most strategic opportunities and invest in our future." The memo said: "As part of these changes, we've had to make some tough decisions around products, teams and people."
The memo said further: "We don’t take these decisions lightly as we recognize the impact to our colleagues and friends who have been on this journey with us. We appreciate their amazing contributions and will miss them."
Anonymous threatens Facebook Zynga shutdown
According to Techcrunch, Anonymous posted a warning to AnnonNews,org, a forum the hacktivists use for their press releases.The message (transcript of the video) reads:
"Zynga customers and Facebook users, We are anonymous . During the last few days anonymous has been targeting Zynga for the outrageous treatment of their employees and their actions against many developers .
We have come to believe that this actions of Zynga will result in massive layoff of a thousand people and legal actions against everyone that speaks to the public about this plan.
It will also come to end of the US game market as we know it as all this jobs will be replaced in other more convenient financial countries.
With a billion dollars cash sitting in a bank we do believe that such actions are an insult to the population and the behaviour of corporations like Zynga must change.
Anonymous could not allow this to happen so it's starting to release confidential documents we have leaked on this plan.
As we speak we are planning to release also all the games we've taken from their servers for free.
That being said we will stop the idea of the distribution of such games if Zynga will cease immediately the plan."
The group also posted to AnonNews.org, a confidential document that it alleges outlines Zynga's strategy:
"Following the preliminary announced of this week the final strategy for the next two quarters has been successfully set to delivery by November 23 an additional but of 800 jobs with further raising of new capital from the market to support businesses.
We've identified our global gambling strategy with bwin.party and as we speak discussions are progressing with a partner to cover the US market.
Work is focused and on-going to completely outsource our development teams in our offices in Bangalore, India to hedge our position in the long term.
We've identified key new products from third parties such as Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Shove Prod and Music Invaders in which we are starting business contacts to buy these IP for transaction value of approximately 20 million.
We strongly believe we will conclude these deals this month and compete with this titles against mobile competitors with ease.
Our business continues to evolve and we must evolve with it. We operate in a exciting and challenging industry and I am very pleased that our senior leadership team continue to strengthen and develop with us."
The Daily Mail reports that Zynga has been a leader in the online gaming market with its successful FarmVille and Words With Friends, but it has been facing stiff competition from companies like King.com, Wooga and Kixeye.
Facebook is affected by the latest news about Zynga because the gaming unit accounted for 14 percent of Facebook's total revenue in the first six months of 2012. Investor confidence in Facebook waned after the company failed to deliver on the hyped promise of its IPO in May.
Meanwhile, Zynga's shares appreciated last Wednesday after the announcement that the company was planning to enter the gambling business and implement cost-cutting measures that include staff layoffs.
Anonymous was formed in 2003, and has been responsible for taking down several government and major corporations websites in support of progressive causes and movements such as the Occupy Wall Street movement.