Citing an “imminent threat to human life,” Cloudflare removed notorious stalking and harassment site Kiwi Farms from its internet security services after transgender twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti launched an online campaign to urge him to do so.
An extraordinary decision for us and, given Cloudflare’s role as an internet infrastructure provider, a dangerous one that we are not comfortable with,” CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post on Saturday, a sea change after previously insisting that the company not blocked the site.
“However, the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms website and the specific and targeted threats have escalated to the point in the past 48 hours that we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and imminent threat to human life unlike anything we have seen before have kiwi farms or another client before.
For years, members of the website created and run by 29-year-old Joshua Conner Moon have gathered in what they call a “lightweight discussion forum” to organize ruthless campaigns of harassment against transgender people, feminists and others they consider pull ridiculous.
They form gangs by informing victims and collecting their personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers, in a practice called “doxxing,” which spreads vile rumors and targets jobs, friends, families and homes.
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Provoking an armed police action at a target’s home.
Some individuals who have been subjected to group abuse have died by suicide. Sorrenti, who goes by the name “Keffals” online, is leading a campaign to pressure Cloudflare into leaving Kiwi Farms.
In August, she fled her home in Canada for Europe after being betrayed and beaten up. However, their online harassers also found them in Belfast, Ireland and continued to escalate their harassment campaign against them just as their campaign against Kiwi Farms and its supporters was gaining momentum.
“When a multi-billion dollar company like Cloudflare has to shut down Kiwi Farms due to an ’emergency and imminent threat to human life’, this is no longer an issue of free speech. Removing Kiwi Farms from the internet is a matter of public safety for everyone online,” he tweeted Saturday. Kiwi Farms was unavailable on Sunday.
The decision to abandon Kiwi Farms on Saturday was a turning point for Cloudflare and Prince, who published a 2,600-word blog post earlier in the week without mentioning the site’s name to reiterate the decision to protect it to affirm Compare Cloudflare to a phone company that “doesn’t drop your line if you say horrible, racist, or bigoted things often for years. “They’re trying to get people to lose their jobs. They’re trying to get people to lose their homes, starve, and become homeless,” Liz Fong-Jones, former Google engineer and cloud engineer Computing expert who is transgender. , he told the AP last week.
“And then they go after people’s families and then tell them the only way out is to kill yourself.
Moon started Kiwi Farms almost a decade ago as a wiki site dedicated to the harassment of a transgender woman; Moon even used the woman’s initials in an earlier version of the site’s name. Over time, users started targeting other people, mostly active online users who are transgender, autistic, or have other mental illnesses. Kiwi Farms in its current form was founded in 2015.
A common theme of discussions on the site revolves around strong user opposition to transgender children receiving gender-affirming healthcare. Advocates of such treatment are often labeled “hairdressers” and “paedophiles” by members, rhetoric also increasingly used. by conservatives in their opposition to LGBTQ rights.
“There has never been a violent incident in our history, which cannot be said of many other sites still on Cloudflare. Posts on Kiwi Farms under the alias “Null” published on Saturday in response to the Cloudflare outage. When previously approached by The Associated Press for comment on the campaign against his website, Moon simply replied, “The press is scum.”
KiwiFarms.ru is registered and protected by Russian company DDoS-Guard, whose past clients include Russian government websites, including the Ministry of Defense, and cybercrime forums that sell and buy stolen credit cards. Last year, DDoS-Guard protected pro-Trump social media site Parler.com for a time after Amazon shut down hosting services. Kiwi Farms.
ru was registered on July 12, suggesting that Moon knew Cloudflare might shut down its website, so it created a backup plan. DDoS Guard did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment on Sunday. Kiwi Farms’ Internet connection is provided by VegasNAP, a Las Vegas-based company that responded to inquiries last week that it does not disclose information about its customers. Contacted again on Sunday, the company did not respond immediately.
“In the past, DDoS-Guard has been known to discontinue support for some websites with serious issues, apparently due to press inquiries. It’s quite possible that it will happen again in this case, but I wouldn’t bet on it. ‘ said independent internet expert Ron Guilmette.“Obviously a lot has changed in the world since February 24, 2022 and I think that nowadays, and especially in the last 6 months, Russians have learned to care a lot less about what the rest of the world thinks of them and or their actions.