Cloudflare, a website security and hosting provider, announced on Saturday that it has blocked Kiwi Farms, an online forum known for hateful content. In a post on Cloudflare’s blog, citing an increase in “targeted threats” over the past two days, the company said Kiwi Farms poses an “immediate threat to human life.”
Concerns about Kiwi Farms have been raised after transgender YouTuber and Twitch streamer, Clara Sorrenti (Kefals), was targeted by a dangerous harassment campaign from users of the site. Last month, customers of Kiwi Farms went on a rampage against Sorrenti, otherwise known as giving a false tip to police that someone was planning to commit a violent crime, resulting in police raiding the victim’s home.
Sorrenti later went underground and started the #DropKiwifarms campaign, which called on Cloudflare to stop serving Kiwi Farms. Users on Twitter shared the hashtag, with some even revealing the harassment they experienced at the hands of Kiwi Farms users.
Cloudflare initially resisted calls to drop Kiwi Farms, saying doing so was an “abuse of power”. In an update posted to its site last week, CloudFlare outlined its policies on abusive content, making the case for operating the service without explicitly mentioning Kiwi Farms. In the post, CloudFlare argued that its takedown of sites like The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi message board, and 8Chan, a forum for promoting extremist content, had led “authoritarian regimes” to ask CloudFlare to “suspend security services to human rights organizations.” .”
“Just as a telephone company doesn’t cut your line if you say horrible, racist, bigoted things, we have consulted with politicians, policy makers and experts to stop security services because what you publish is despicable. Wrong approach,” explains Cloudflare.
In its most recent update, Cloudflare cited an “unprecedented emergency” justifying both the withdrawal and the change of heart of the service. Notably, CloudFlare did not provide hosting for the Kiwi Farms website, but many provided security services that helped keep the site online.
“Visitors to any of Kiviforms’ sites that use any of CloudFlare’s services will see a CloudFlare block page and a link to this post,” explains CloudFlare. “Kiwifarms can move their sites to other providers and come back online in doing so, but we have taken steps to prevent them from accessing their content through our infrastructure.” Cloudflare has also coordinated with law enforcement to address some of the threats on the site, but said “the process is moving slower than the growing risk.”
In an update, CloudFlare said the site was not blocked because of a social media campaign that requested the service to drop Kiwi Farms as a customer. Instead, the post said the decision was based on an increase in aggressive activity on the platform. However, Cloudflare said it was “uncomfortable” with the decision to boycott the site and believed its action “may have exacerbated the emergency”.
Kiwi Farms first emerged in 2013 and was created by former 8chan administrator Joshua Moon. The site is known for its harassment and stalking of “lolkos” — a term Kiwi Farms uses to describe its victims (often neurodivergent or members of the LGBTQIA+ community). A report from New York Magazine Kiwi Farms has been called “the largest community of stalkers”, with harassment so severe that the site has resulted in the deaths of several victims.