The Washington Post reports [washingtonpost.com]:
The headlines sound thrilling. One might say they bait a click.
"ANONYMOUS SAYS NASA HAS EVIDENCE OF ALIEN LIFE. DOES IT?" — Newsweek [newsweek.com]
"The world's biggest hacking group thinks NASA is about to announce alien life." — the Independent [twitter.com]
Maybe you know of Anonymous as a band of socially enlightened hackers: liberators of knowledge from elites who want to hide it from the public. You certainly know what NASA is. So you click [youtube.com]. And what you get, if you follow the articles to the amateur YouTube channel that is their source, is video of a man in a Guy Fawkes mask — "Anonymous Global," he calls himself — reading out old quotes from NASA spokespeople in a spooky, synthesized voice.
The man in the anarchist mask quotes a NASA science director's testimony from a congressional hearing in April [house.gov], all totally public: "We are on the verge of making one of the most profound, unprecedented discoveries in history."
That quote — taken out of context and adorned with Anonymous Global's wild conspiracy theorizing — became the basis for millions of views and countless news articles, forcing the science director in question and NASA officials to explicitly deny the claims of a shoddily produced YouTube video this week. "There's no pending announcement regarding extraterrestrial life," a NASA spokesman wrote to The Washington Post, in case you were still in doubt.
Recently: UFO researcher says new documentary exposes 'what the secret agenda has been' [thestar.com]
NASA Disputes Origins of Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop "Healing Stickers" [soylentnews.org]