The internet services company Cloudflare has announced Saturday that they have blocked Kiwi Farms, an online forum that has become infamous for spreading hate and fueling harassment, citing escalating targeted threats that are an “immediate threat to human life.
“We have blocked Kiwi Farms,” Cloudflare said in a blog post authored by CEO Matthew Prince. “Visitors to any of the Kiwi Farms sites that use any of Cloudflare’s services will see a Cloudflare block page and a link to this post. Kiwi Farms may move their sites to other providers and, in doing so, come back online, but we have taken steps to block their content from being accessed through our infrastructure.”
Prince called it an “extrordinary decision,” and he added that given Cloudflare’s role as an Internet infrastructure provider, he believed it is “a dangerous one that we are not comfortable with.”
“However, the rhetoric on the Kiwi Farms site and specific, targeted threats have escalated over the last 48 hours to the point that we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life unlike we have previously seen from Kiwi Farms or any other customer before,” Prince wrote.
The decision comes days after Prince and Cloudflare global public policy chief Alissa Starzakhow the company handles abuse. But that post that did not reference Kiwi Farms by name and it indicated services would continue for Kiwi Farms.
“Terminating security services for content that our team personally feels is disgusting and immoral would be the popular choice,” that blog post said. “But, in the long term, such choices make it more difficult to protect content that supports oppressed and marginalized voices against attacks.”
Cloudfare made headlines in 2019 afterthe message board 8chan, known for harboring violent hate speech and where the gunman at a Walmart in El Paso posted his manifesto. Cloudflare had earlier terminated its services to the white supremacist site Daily Stormer.
Cloudfare which offers a range of services to digital clients, from cyber security to web hosting, faced criticism recently for providing security services to Kiwi Farms, whose users have doxxed and harassed transgender people and where a campaign that specifically targeted a popular trans Twitch streamer pushed her into hiding.
The streamer and activist, Clara Sorrenti, known as Keffals on social media, detailed in videos her experiences being doxxed — when someone’s private information is published online, typically in cyberbullying and cyberattack scenarios — and swatted, a cybercrime that aims to send armed emergency personnel to a victim’s residence after a hoax 911 call. Keffals started the #DropKiwiFarms campaign where she detailed her experience.
In a blog post titled “The battle is won, but the war is not over” Keffals celebrated Cloudflare’s decision.
“Today Cloudflare has dropped the notorious far-right hate forum Kiwi Farms,” the #DropKiwiFarms campaign said in a statement. “As CEO Matthew Prince has noted, threats against human life have been escalating in the last 48 hours on the website, and happening in a much faster manner than law enforcement is able to keep up with. Kiwi Farms has been around for over a decade, and at no point in the site’s history have they come under this much fire. This is a historical moment where thousands of people have stood up and taken a stance against online harassment and hate.”
But, the campaign warned that although they are “happy” with Cloudfare’s decision, “that doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels.”
“While we should celebrate today, this may not be the end of their community. We have shown that when united together we are capable of moving mountains, and if we continue to stand together and fight back, we can see this until the end,” the post added.