Cloudflare removes KiwiFarms – The Washington Post


SAN FRANCISCO — Amid mounting public pressure, big tech security firm Cloudflare announced Saturday that it would stop protecting the Kiwi Farms website, known for stalker-organized hacks, online activity and real-world harassment.

Cloudfare CEO Matthew Prince, who published a lengthy blog post last week defending the company’s services in defense of Kiwi Farms, told The Washington Post that he changed his mind not because of pressure, but credible violence from the site Threats surge.

“If Kiwi Farms felt a greater threat, their response was to be more threatening,” Prince said. “We believe there is an imminent danger, and law enforcement is able to respond to a threat that we believe cannot keep up.”

Contributors to the forum posted addresses of the homes of those deemed enemies and called for them to be shot, Prince said.

Kiwi Farms launched in 2013 and quickly grew into a popular internet forum for online harassment activities. At least three suicides have been linked to harassment from the Kiwi Farms community, with many on the forums arguing that their targets were driven to suicide. LGBTQ community members and women are common targets.

Cloudflare faced widespread opposition in the past week as its campaign to drop the service gained momentum and expanded to force paying customers to abandon Cloudflare if it persisted.

Two weeks ago, Prince said the company stopped selling Kiwi Farms a $20-a-month service to display custom error messages to web users when its pages wouldn’t load. On Saturday, it withdrew its remaining free services, which were designed to ward off denial-of-service attacks and speed up content delivery by duplicating websites in many places.

Clara Sorrenti, a trans-Canadian Twitch streamer known online as Keffals, launched the #DropKiwiFarms campaign after being locked out by Kiwi Farms posters for over half a year.

Forum users have repeatedly attacked Sorrenti and her family, posted addresses and more, and last month they called for false crime reports to lure police to her home. Sorrenti fled to Northern Ireland late last month and within 48 hours forum users had pinpointed her location and she began to be threatened.

She spoke to The Washington Post on Saturday, minutes after police raided her residence again.

“There are countless people suffering because of this site,” Sorrenti said. “Kiwi Farms is not about free speech, it’s about hate speech. Much of the content on the site is a thread for sexual harassment against political targets.”

Over the past few days, Sorrenti’s campaign against Cloudflare has gone viral online, with groups and influencers joining calls to ban Kiwi Farms from using Cloudflare’s services. The Anti-Defamation League called Kiwi Farms an “extremist-friendly forum and a breeding ground for countless harassment activities”.

In the interview, Prince said that despite Kiwi Farms’ content, he was uncomfortable giving up on Kiwi Farms and would prefer to get a court order.

But he said it was easier than his earlier decision to drop the neo-Nazi websites Daily Stormer and 8chan, which were not hotbeds of specific violent conspiracies.

Lorenz reported from Los Angeles.

This is a developing story. Check for updates.

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