Cloudflare Blocks Kiwi Farms Due to “Immediate Threat to Human Life”
Cloudflare, a website hosting and security provider, announced on Saturday that it has blocked Kiwi Farms, an online forum notorious for hateful content. In a Cloudflare blog post, the company said Kiwi Farms posed an “immediate threat to human life,” citing an increase in “targeted threats” over the past two days.
Concerns about Kiwi Farms grew after transgender YouTuber and Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti (Keffals) was targeted by a dangerous harassment campaign by users of the site. Last month, users of Kiwi Farms carried out an attack on Sorrenti, otherwise known as the act of providing a false clue to the police that someone was planning to commit a violent crime, which led to the police flooding the victim’s home.
Sorrenti then went into hiding and launched a #DropKiwifarms campaign that urged Cloudflare to stop serving Kiwi Farms. Twitter users shared the hashtag, with some also revealing the harassment they experienced from Kiwi Farms users.
Cloudflare initially resisted calls to abandon Kiwi Farms, saying it would be “an abuse of power” to do so. In an update posted to its site last week, Cloudflare outlined its policies on abusive content, laying out an argument for keeping the service going without explicitly mentioning Kiwi Farms. In the article, Cloudflare claims its shutdown of sites like The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi message board, and 8Chan, a forum that spawns extremist content, has led “authoritarian regimes” to demand Cloudflare “terminate services.” security for human rights organizations”. .”
“Just as the telephone company does not terminate your line if you say horrible, racist or bigoted things, we have concluded, in consultation with politicians, policymakers and experts, that deactivating security services because we think what you post is despicable is the wrong policy,” Cloudflare explains.
In its most recent update, Cloudflare cites “unprecedented urgency” as warranting both the removal and change of heart of the service. Notably, Cloudflare did not provide hosting for the Kiwi Farms website, but provided security services that many considered essential to keeping the site online.
“Visitors to any of the Kiwifarms sites who use any of Cloudflare’s services will see a Cloudflare block page and a link to this message,” Cloudflare explains. “Kiwifarms can move their sites to other providers and in doing so come back online, but we have taken steps to block access to their content through our infrastructure.” Cloudflare has also coordinated with law enforcement to deal with some of the threats on the site, but says “the process is moving slower than the escalation of risk.”
In the update, Cloudflare claims it didn’t block the site because of the social media campaign that begged 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’s “uncomfortable” with its decision to ban the site, and thinks its action “may have heightened the urgency even further.”
Kiwi Farms first appeared in 2013 and was created by former 8chan admin Joshua Moon. The site has become notorious for stalking and harassing “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 the site was blamed for the deaths of multiple victims.