Cloudflare disables controversial message board Kiwi Farms citing ‘targeted threats’


Last Updated on 3 months by Mukesh

Web hosting and security company Cloudflare announced on Saturday that it would block Kiwi Farms, a website linked to anti-transgender harassment campaigns.

The announcement casts uncertainty on the future of the off-topic online forum, even though some of its members had already started looking into alternatives since they knew Cloudflare might take action.

An error message that read, “Due to an imminent and emergency threat to human life, the content of this site is banned from being accessed using Cloudflare’s infrastructure,” emerged when someone attempted to access Kiwi Farms’ website Saturday evening.

The action was taken as a result of pressure exerted on Cloudflare by a trans Twitch streamer who had been the target of abuse from Kiwi Farms users.

Fans’ favourite streamer Clara Sorrenti, also known by the handle Keffals, reacted in a tweet on Saturday: “Cloudflare no longer supports Kiwi Farms. Soon, our campaign would release a statement.”

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In a blog post announcing the move, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince did not specifically mention Sorrenti but did note that Kiwi Farms’ misuse of the company had increased as a result of her campaign.

“This is an extraordinary decision for us to make and, given Cloudflare’s role as an Internet infrastructure provider, a dangerous one that we are not comfortable with,” Cloudflare’s statement said.

“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.”

As the 2024 U.S. presidential election approaches, NBC News reported  that Sorrenti is one of Kiwi Farms’ expanding list of targets and that their harassment tactics may be used against political adversaries as well.

Josh Moon, the owner of Kiwi Farms, did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment on Saturday. Cloudflare’s decision was “done without any debate,” according to a post on the Kiwi Farms Telegram account.

“The message I’ve received is a vague suspension notice. The message from Matthew Prince is unclear,” the post stated. “If there is any threat to life on the site, I have received no communication from any law enforcement.”

In particular, its content delivery network and mitigation of distributed denial of services attacks, or DDoS, a frequent cyberattack that floods websites with fictitious internet traffic and renders them unusable, are two of the many vital resources that Cloudflare offers websites.
As one of the major suppliers of these services, Cloudflare has a crucial role in the internet activities of radicals, which has made the firm a flashpoint.

The corporation, though it has in the past, has generally been reluctant to take action against specific websites or internet operations due to worries that it possesses enormous control over who is able to operate on the internet.

Neo-Nazi message board the Daily Stormer would no longer get services, according to a statement made by Cloudflare in 2017.

Users of Kiwi Farms had been preparing for the Cloudflare ban for weeks and had set up backup websites, accounts, and communities on Telegram in case the site went down.

As per posts made on Telegram about a potential site shutdown, the user base of Kiwi Farms appears committed to continuing to track trans people online, even though accessing and adding to the site’s ten-year-old archive of personal information on political adversaries will be significantly more challenging.

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