Cloudflare suspended Kiwi Farms from its internet security services after a campaign by transgender Twitch broadcaster Clara Sorrenti.
“This is an extraordinary decision for us to make and, given Cloudflare’s role as an Internet infrastructure provider, a perilous one,” CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post Saturday. He had earlier insisted the business would not block the site. The rhetoric on Kiwifarms’ website and specific, targeted threats have increased over the last 48 hours to the point where we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life.
Members of Joshua Conner Moon’s website have organized severe harassment campaigns against transgender persons, feminists, and others they find mockable for years. In a tactic termed “doxxing,” they target businesses, friends, families, and homes with hateful rumors and victims’ personal information. “Swatting” involves making bogus emergency calls to draw armed police to a target’s residence. Abusers have committed suicide.
Sorrenti, aka “Keffals” online, is pressuring Cloudflare to dump Kiwi Farms. In August, she departed her home in Canada for Europe after she was doxxed and swatted. Her online stalkers discovered her in Belfast, Ireland, and continued harassing her as she campaigned against Kiwi Farms and its supporters.
“When Cloudflare drops Kiwi Farms because of a ‘imminent and immediate threat to human life,’ it’s no longer a matter of free expression. Removing Kiwi Farms from the internet is a question of online safety, she tweeted Saturday.
Sunday, Kiwi Farms closed. A.ru version of the site was intermittently available, but its future remained unclear.
The decision to remove Kiwi Farms Saturday marked an about-face for Cloudflare and Prince, who earlier in the week doubled down on protecting the site and compared Cloudflare to a phone company that “doesn’t terminate your line if you say nasty, racist, bigoted things.”
Sorrenti and other site targets allege trolls relentlessly hounded them offline for years.
“They want to cause employment loss.” They want people to lose their homes, starve, and be homeless, a transgender former Google engineer told the AP last week. They attack people’s families and tell them to murder themselves.
Moon founded Kiwi Farms about a decade ago as a wiki site dedicated to bullying a transsexual woman. Over time, its members began targeting transgender, autistic, and other online users. In 2015, Kiwi Farms was founded.
The site’s conversations revolve on members’ resistance to transgender children receiving gender-affirming care. Members term individuals who favor such treatment “groomers” and “pedophiles,” words employed by conservatives against LGBTQ rights.
“We’ve never had a violent incident, unlike many Cloudflare sites.” This narrative feels like a deception to save face,” Moon, who blogs on Kiwi Farms as “Null,” said Saturday. Moon told the AP “the journalists are filth” when asked about the attack against his site.
KiwiFarms.ru is registered to and protected by the Russian business DDoS-Guard, whose clients have included the Defense Ministry and cybercriminal forums where stolen credit cards are sold.
DDoS-Guard defended Parler.com after Amazon pulled hosting last year. KiwiFarms.ru was registered on July 12, suggesting Moon had a backup plan in case Cloudflare dropped his site.
DDoS-Guard didn’t respond to a message Sunday. Las Vegas-based VegasNAP provides Kiwi Farms’ internet connection. The company said last week it does not divulge client information. The corporation didn’t react when contacted Sunday.
DDoS-Guard has reportedly stopped supporting some problematic websites in response to press inquiries. I wouldn’t bet on that, says internet specialist Ron Guilmette. Since February 24, 2022, a lot has changed in the globe, and I think Russians have learnt to care less about what the rest of the world thinks of them and/or their conduct.