Cloudflare Blocks Kiwi Farms Due to ‘Immediate Threat’: What to Know

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Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare on Saturday said it’s blocking Kiwi Farms, a message board known for organizing harassment campaigns. Cloudflare cited an “unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life” as the reason for its actions. 

The message that appears when visiting Kiwi Farms.


Cloudflare

“The rhetoric on the Kiwifarms 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 Kiwifarms or any other customer before,”  Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO and co-founder, said in a blog post

Attempts to visit Kiwi Farms are now met with a message that says the site is blocked and directs people to the blog post from Cloudflare. 

Kiwi Farms didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the site being blocked. The forum founder Josh Moon said on Telegram Monday, “I do not see a situation where the Kiwi Farms is simply allowed to operate.”

What is Kiwi Farms? 

Kiwi Farms is a hate-filled message forum that started as an offshoot of 4chan, the infamous anonymous image board. It was initially called “the CWCki” when it began around 2007 and at the time was dedicated to the harassment of a single online personality, according to a New York Magazine article from 2016. The forum switched its name to Kiwi Farms in 2014. 

“Kiwi Farms has been the locus of numerous mass harassment campaigns, some of which have ended in doxing or swatting or even in the target committing suicide,” said Daniel Kelly, director of strategy and operations at the ADL’s Center for Technology and Society. 

Doxxing is when a person’s private information, such as their address and phone number, is posted online without their permission. Swatting involves fake calls made to the police that can lead to an armed response at a targeted person’s home. 

Posts on Kiwi Farms frequently target members of the LGBTQ community, specifically transgender people. At least three people have died by suicide after harassment campaigns tied to Kiwi Farms, according to The Washington Post

Kiwi Farms also had ties to the Christchurch mass shooter, who in 2019 killed 51 people at two New Zealand mosques, and has since been blocked in that country.

Why has there been pressure to #DropKiwiFarms?

The move by Cloudflare comes after growing pressure over the past month from a campaign that sought to get the internet company to stop providing services to Kiwi Farms. The #DropKiwiFarms campaign was started by Clara “Keffals” Sorrenti, a transgender Canadian Twitch streamer. 

Sorrenti said she started the campaign after being targeted by people using Kiwi Farms, including repeated doxxing and swatting incidents. 

The #DropKiwiFarms site contains information about the forums, provides steps for contacting Cloudflare and shares stories of victims who have been targeted by people using the forum.  

Last month, Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, said in an interview with Newsmax that she was swatted twice in August. Greene pointed to Kiwi Farms as the culprit and called for the site to be taken down. 

Cloudflare initially resisted taking action against Kiwi Farms, with Prince saying in an Aug. 31 blog post that “such choices make it more difficult to protect content that supports oppressed and marginalized voices against attack.” 

However, the company changed course this weekend. On Saturday, Prince said his company could no longer wait for law enforcement to act. In the blog post, Price said Cloudflare reached out to law enforcement multiple times in the past two weeks for what is believed to be potential criminal acts and imminent threats to human life.

Prince said the decision to block Kiwi Farms wasn’t in response to the pressure campaign. 

#DropKiwiFarms released a statement Saturday in response to Cloudflare’s action, saying it’s happy with the decision but doesn’t want to rest on its laurels. 

“This deals a big blow to Kiwi Farms and their community, one they may never recover from,” the statement said. “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.”

#DropKiwiFarms says this is not the end and if the site becomes active again, it will apply pressure on Firehub, a data center based in Las Vegas and where the Kiwi Farms server is located. 

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