Operation Chokehold Is Gathering Steam — Bring AT&T To Its Knees on Friday

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Operation Chokehold — a flashmob-style protest against AT&T that began as a joke on Fake Steve’s blog — looks like it may actually take place.

The meme is gathering a lot of steam on Twitter and Facebook, with people saying they plan to join the protest.

“We have got to do this!,” says Mashable reader pjserven, who set up a couple of Facbook pages to help mobilize protestors: an event page and a fanpage that makes it easy to invite friends.

The protest began with a Fake Steve post about an internal Apple memo — fake of course — about bringing AT&T’s network to its knees on Friday, December 18 at noon Pacific:

Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. The idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

“I made up the note,” said Dan Lyons, aka Fake Steve. “A reader sent in the opposite idea — a boycott of AT&T for one day, everyone stops using their iPhone for a day, and we show them what’s what. I liked the sentiment but who’s going to stop using their iPhone? And for a whole day? I figured no one would go for it. But a one-hour flash mob of overuse? Now that i could see people doing.”

The fake memo follows Fake Steve’s inspired and widely-linked anti-AT&T rant last week. Fake Steve’s diatribe was prompted by comments by A&T CEO Ralph de la Vega’s saying the carrier may “incentivize” iPhone users to cut back on their usage.

Note: Operation Chokehold may adversely affect AT&T’s voice network and block emergency calls.