The Anonymous hacking group has launched “Operation Facebook”, threatening to destroy the social networking site on 5 November.

The date is known to much of the English-speaking world as Guy Fawkes Day, the famous anniversary of the attempt by dissidents to blow up the UK’s Houses or Parliament in what has become known as the Gunpowder Plot.

Anonymous has urged “hacktivists” and members of the public interested in protecting the freedom of information to join the operation and “kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy”, according to a statement from the organisation addressed to “citizens of the world”.

The group argues that Facebook has “been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

“Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your ‘privacy’ settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you ‘delete’ your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more ‘private’ is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family,” it adds.

“You cannot hide from the reality in which you, the people of the Internet, live in. Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.

“The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences.

“Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them ‘for their own good’ while they then make millions off of you. When a service is “free,” it really means they’re making money off of you and your information

“Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.”