Cloudflare, a website security and hosting provider, announced on Saturday that it has blocked Kiwi Farms, an online forum known for its hateful content. In a post on Cloudflare’s blogthe company said Kiwi Farms posed an “immediate threat to human life,” citing an increase in “targeted threats” in the past two days.
Concerns over Kiwi Farms grew after transgender YouTuber and Twitch streamer, Clara Sorrenti (Keffals), was the target through a dangerous campaign of intimidation by users of the site. Last month, Kiwi Farms users carried out a slapping attack on Sorrenti, also known as giving a false tip to police that someone is planning to commit a violent crime, causing police to flood the victim’s home.
Sorrenti went into hiding later and started a #DropKiwifarms campaign that urged Cloudflare to stop operating Kiwi Farms. Users on Twitter shared the hashtag, with some also revealing the harassment they have experienced from Kiwi Farms users.
Cloudflare initially resisted calls to drop Kiwi Farms, saying it would be “abuse of power” to do so. In posted an update on his site last week, Cloudflare outlined its policy on abusive content and made an argument for maintaining the service without explicitly mentioning Kiwi Farms. In the post, Cloudflare argues that the termination of sites such as The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi message board, and 8Chan, a forum that breeds extremist content, has prompted “authoritarian regimes” to ask Cloudflare to “end security services for human rights organizations.”
“Just as the telephone company will not end your line if you say horrible, racist, bigoted things, we have concluded in consultation with politicians, policy makers and experts that shutting down security services because we believe what you are posting is despicable is wrong policy,” Cloudflare explains. from.
In the more recent update, Cloudflare cites an “unprecedented emergency” as justification for both the removal and change of the heart of the service. Notably, Cloudflare did not provide hosting for the Kiwi Farms website, but provided security services that many believed were essential to keeping the site online.
“Visitors to any of the Kiwifarms sites using any of Cloudflare’s services will see a Cloudflare block page and a link to this post,” explains Cloudflare. “Kiwifarms may move their sites to other providers and thereby come back online, but we have taken steps to prevent their content from being accessed through our infrastructure.” Cloudflare has also coordinated with law enforcement to address some of the threats on the site, but claims the “process is slower than the escalating risk”.
In the update, Cloudflare claims it has not blocked the site due to the social media campaign pleading with the service to drop Kiwi Farms as a customer. Instead, the post says the decision was based on an increase in aggressive activity on the platform. Still, Cloudflare says it is “inconvenient” with its decision to ban the site, and believes its action “further exacerbated the emergency”.
Kiwi Farms came up for the first time in 2013 and was created by former 8chan administrator Joshua Moon. The site has become known for its harassment and stalking of “lolcows” – the term Kiwi Farms uses to describe its victims (who are often neurodivergent or members of the LGBTQIA+ community). A report of New York Magazine called Kiwi Farms “the largest community of stalkers,” with harassment so severe that the site has been blamed for the deaths of multiple victims.