Another Company Boots Hate Site After Anti-Trans Harassment Campaign

DDos-Guard drops Kiwi Farms after Cloudflare did the same
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2022 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Sep 6, 2022 5:19 AM CDT
'Immediate Threat to Human Life' Gets Hate Site Deplatformed
The headquarters of Cloudflare is seen in San Francisco, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. Citing “imminent danger,” Cloudflare has dropped the notorious stalking and harassment site Kiwi Farms from its internet security services.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Update: Russia-based web-hosting provider DDoS-Guard said Monday that it had stopped providing its services to Kiwi Farms, becoming the second provider in two days to abandon the stalking and harassment site and leaving it inaccessible on the public internet, the AP reports. DDoS-Guard said it doesn't have to decide whether sites violate laws, and it normally only restricts access to a site in cases such as receiving a court order to do so. The company said it acted this time, however, after receiving “multiple" complaints. “Having analyzed the content of the site, we decided on the termination of DDoS protection services” for a version of the Kiwi Farms site with a Russian .ru domain name, the company said. The .ru site had been running intermittently after Cloudfare cut off services. Our original story from Monday follows:

Citing an "immediate threat to human life," Cloudflare has dropped the notorious stalking and harassment site Kiwi Farms from its internet security services following an online campaign started by transgender Twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti to pressure it to do so. “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,” CEO Matthew Prince wrote in a blog post Saturday in an about-face after earlier insisting that the company would not block the site. “However, 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 what we have previously seen from Kiwifarms or any other customer before.”

For years, members of the site created and operated by Joshua Conner Moon, 29, have congregated on what they call a “lighthearted discussion forum” to organize vicious harassment campaigns against transgender people, feminists, and others they deem mockable, the AP reports. They gang up on victims and pool their personal details such as addresses and phone numbers in a practice called “doxxing,” spreading vile rumors and targeting workplaces, friends, families, and homes. Another favorite tactic has been “swatting”—making false emergency calls to provoke an armed police response at a target’s home. Some people subjected to the group’s abuse have died by suicide. Sorrenti, who goes by “Keffals” online, has been leading a campaign to pressure Cloudflare to drop Kiwi Farms.

In August, she fled her home in Canada for Europe after she was doxxed and swatted. Her online stalkers, however, found her in Belfast, Ireland, as well and continued to intensify their harassment campaign against her just as her campaign against Kiwi Farms and its enablers was gaining momentum. The decision to drop Kiwi Farms on Saturday was an about-face for Cloudflare and Prince, who earlier in the week put out a 2,600-word blog post—without mentioning the site by name—doubling down on the decision to protect it and comparing Cloudflare to a phone company that “doesn’t terminate your line if you say awful, racist, bigoted things.” On Sunday, Kiwi Farms was inaccessible. But a version of the site with a .ru domain name was intermittently up and running, though it was not clear whether it would remain up. (Much more, including Moon's response, here.)

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