SAN FRANCISCO –
Citing an “immediate threat to human life,” Cloudflare has removed infamous tracking and harassment website Kiwi Farms from its internet security services following an online campaign led by people moving world on Twitch Clara Sorrenti began to pressure it to do so.
“This is an extraordinary decision for us and to assign Cloudflare the role of an Internet infrastructure provider, a dangerous decision with which we are not comfortable,” said CEO Matthew Prince. wrote in a blog post Saturday after emphasizing that the company would not block the site. “However, kiwifarms rhetoric and targeted threats have escalated over the past 48 hours to the point where we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to with human life unlike what we have seen before from Kiwifarms or any other customer before.”
For years, members of the site created and operated by Joshua Conner Moon, 29, have rallied on what they call a “fun discussion forum” to organize harassment campaigns malice against transgender people, feminists and others they perceive as mockery. They gather victims and aggregate their personal details such as addresses and phone numbers in a way known as “doxxing”, spreading vile rumors and targeting workplaces, friends, family family and private house. Another favorite tactic is “swatting” – making fake emergency calls to provoke an armed police response at a target’s home. Some people who suffered from the group’s abuse died by suicide.
Sorrenti, who follows “Keffals” online, led a campaign to pressure Cloudflare to drop Kiwi Farms. In August, she fled her home in Canada for Europe after being tricked and arrested. However, her online stalkers also found her in Belfast, Ireland and continued to ramp up their harassment campaign against her like hers against Kiwi Farms and others. People supporting it are gaining momentum.
“When a multi-billion dollar corporation like Cloudflare has to abandon Kiwi Farms because of an urgent and imminent threat to human life, it’s no longer a matter of free speech. Kiwi farm off the internet is a matter of public safety for everyone online,” she tweeted on Saturday.
On Sundays, the Kiwi Farm was inaccessible. But one version of the site with the .ru domain is constantly working, although it’s not clear if it still works.
Saturday’s decision to abandon Kiwi Farms is a face on behalf of Cloudflare and Prince, who earlier this week issued a 2,600-word blog post – not to mention the site’s name – doubling down on his decision to preserve defended it and compared Cloudflare to a phone company that “doesn’t end your relationship if you say bad, racist, bigotry things.”
But Sorrenti and other site targets say it’s much worse than that, as trolls on the site relentlessly hunt their victims offline – often for years on end.
“They’re trying to put people out of jobs. They’re trying to make people homeless, starving and homeless,” said Liz Fong-Jones, a transgender former Google engineer and cloud expert. , told the AP site last week. “And then they tracked down everyone’s families and then they told everyone that the only way out was suicide.”
Moon started Kiwi Farms almost a decade ago as a wiki dedicated to harassing a transgender woman; Moon even used the woman’s initials in the first version of the site’s name. Over time, its users began to target other people — mostly active online users who were transgender, had autism, or other mental conditions. Kiwi Farms in its current form was born in 2015.
The overarching topic of discussions on the site centered on the strong user opposition to transgender children receiving sex-determined medical care. Members often refer to advocates of treatment such as “snobs” and “pedophiles,” rhetoric that is also increasingly used by conservatives to protest LGBTQ rights.
“There has never been a single incident of violence in our history, which cannot be said for the many other sites still on Cloudflare. This story is like a lie concocted to save face. “, Moon, who posted on Kiwi Farms under the pseudonym “Null,” posted Saturday in response to Cloudflare’s cuts. Reached earlier by the Associated Press for comment on the campaign against its website, Moon replied only “the press is scum.”
Last year, DDoS-Guard protected the pro-Trump social media site Parler.com for a time after Amazon pulled its hosting service. KiwiFarms.ru was registered on July 12, indicating that Moon, knowing that Cloudflare might drop his site and thus created a backup plan.
DDoS-Guard did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Sunday. Kiwi Farms’ internet connection is provided by VegasNAP, a Las Vegas-based company that responded to queries last week that it does not disclose information about its customers. Contacted again on Sunday, the company did not respond immediately.
“DDoS-Guard has been known in the past to have discontinued support for a number of websites with serious issues, apparently due to press requests. That could very well happen again, just in case. this, but I wouldn’t bet on it”. Independent internet expert Ron Guilmette. “Obviously, a lot has changed in the world since February 24, 2022 and I believe that, in general, Russians these days and in the last 6 months in particular, have learned to care a lot less. much to the rest of the world’s thoughts on them and/or their actions.”