“Yes, people are permitted to shop for food or go on short walks to get some fresh air,” said Sadie Cooke, 34, one of the founders. “But that doesn’t mean they may actually do it, not if we can stop it.”
Cooke and other members, many of whom have adopted codenames like Agent X and Big Eyes, say their goal is to make sure that everyone internalizes the feeling of being under surveillance. They hope to achieve this by reporting on social media every instance of anyone being outside for any reason.
“I don’t care if someone is walking to the pharmacy or going jogging in the forest alone at 6:30 a.m.,” said Irina Bykova, 51. “Our mission is to shame first and ask questions later, or not at all.”
Members say that although being happy in public is not yet forbidden, they are also taking note whenever they observe people smiling or laughing outside of their homes.
“If I see any children playing outside in the sun, even if it’s in their own gardens, you can be certain that I’ll post about it on Facebook,” said Paolo Polerio, 39. “What type of parents allow their children to remain blissfully naive in times like these?”
“As for my own children, they’re not allowed to leave their rooms for any reason,” he added. “Which is fine, because I’ve been keeping them entertained by making them watch the entire Lars von Trier collection.”