Cloudflare blocks Kiwi Farms from internet service, reversing course
Noted online hate forum Kiwi Farms has been blocked by Cloudflare in a reversal of an earlier decision.
Cloudflare has reversed course on an earlier decision to allow online hate forum Kiwi Farms to remain on their servers saying that the company believes "there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life." The blog post announcing the ban was authored by Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince.
We just blocked Kiwifarms. The threats on the site escalated enough in the last 48 hours that, in spite of proactively working with law enforcement, it became enough of an imminent emergency we could no longer wait for them to act. Details of our decision: https://t.co/xNnSXn65R6— Matthew Prince 🌥 (@eastdakota) September 3, 2022
Here is a transcription of the entire Cloudflare blog post on the blocking of Kiwi Farms:
We have blocked Kiwifarms. Visitors to any of the Kiwifarms sites that use any of Cloudflare's services will see a Cloudflare block page and a link to this post. Kiwifarms 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.
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. 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 we have previously seen from Kiwifarms or any other customer before.
Kiwifarms has frequently been host to revolting content. Revolting content alone does not create an emergency situation that necessitates the action we are taking today. Beginning approximately two weeks ago, a pressure campaign started with the goal to deplatform Kiwifarms. That pressure campaign targeted Cloudflare as well as other providers utilized by the site.
Cloudflare provides security services to Kiwifarms, protecting them from DDoS and other cyberattacks. We have never been their hosting provider. As we outlined last Wednesday, we do not believe that terminating security services is appropriate, even to revolting content. In a law-respecting world, the answer to even illegal content is not to use other illegal means like DDoS attacks to silence it.
We are also not taking this action directly because of the pressure campaign. While we have empathy for its organizers, we are committed as a security provider to protecting our customers even when they run deeply afoul of popular opinion or even our own morals. The policy we articulated last Wednesday remains our policy. We continue to believe that the best way to relegate cyberattacks to the dustbin of history is to give everyone the tools to prevent them.
However, as the pressure campaign escalated, so did the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms site. Feeling attacked, users of the site became even more aggressive. Over the last two weeks, we have proactively reached out to law enforcement in multiple jurisdictions highlighting what we believe are potential criminal acts and imminent threats to human life that were posted to the site.
While law enforcement in these areas are working to investigate what we and others reported, unfortunately the process is moving more slowly than the escalating risk. While we believe that in every other situation we have faced — including the Daily Stormer and 8chan — it would have been appropriate as an infrastructure provider for us to wait for legal process, in this case the imminent and emergency threat to human life which continues to escalate causes us to take this action.
Hard cases make bad law. This is a hard case and we would caution anyone from seeing it as setting precedent. The policies we articulated last Wednesday remain our policies. For an infrastructure provider like Cloudflare, legal process is still the correct way to deal with revolting and potentially illegal content online.
But we need a mechanism when there is an emergency threat to human life for infrastructure providers to work expediently with legal authorities in order to ensure the decisions we make are grounded in due process. Unfortunately, that mechanism does not exist and so we are making this uncomfortable emergency decision alone.
Not the end
Finally, we are aware and concerned that our action may only fan the flames of this emergency. Kiwifarms itself will most likely find other infrastructure that allows them to come back online, as the Daily Stormer and 8chan did themselves after we terminated them. And, even if they don't, the individuals that used the site to increasingly terrorize will feel even more isolated and attacked and may lash out further. There is real risk that by taking this action today we may have further heightened the emergency.
We will continue to work proactively with law enforcement to help with their investigations into the site and the individuals who have posted what may be illegal content to it. And we recognize that while our blocking Kiwifarms temporarily addresses the situation, it by no means solves the underlying problem. That solution will require much more work across society. We are hopeful that our action today will help provoke conversations toward addressing the larger problem. And we stand ready to participate in that conversation.
While today's announcement of the blocking of Kiwi Farms by Cloudflare is a reversal of their stance earlier this week, the company states that this is not likely going to be the end of the online hate group's forum. Other blocked websites 8chan and the Daily Stormer have been able to secure infrastructure to continue without Cloudflare's support.
Cloudflare claims that the final decision came down to the fact that there is an individual in immediate danger after being targeted by the hate group. Twitch streamer Keffals has been stalked and doxxed by members of Kiwi Farms and has taken on the mantle of calling on Cloudflare to stop hosting the hate forum. Less than a month ago, she was arrested after being swatted by members of Kiwi Farms.
While today's news that Cloudflare has come to its senses is a good thing, it is just a matter of time for Kiwi Farms to find another solution to their online hosting needs. It's unfortunate that it took days of public shaming and weeks of coordinated attacks on an individual for Cloudflare to reach this conclusion, but hopefully this decision will mark a turning point in what has been a nightmarish month for Keffals.
Asif Khan posted a new article, Cloudflare blocks Kiwi Farms from internet service, reversing course
A forum full of just the worst people:
Kiwi Farms is owned and operated by Josh Moon, a former administrator of 8chan, a forum that became known as a dumping ground for white nationalist screeds posted by mass shooters and the conspiracy theory movement QAnon. Brennan, the founder of 8chan who has spent the last several years trying to take down the site he created due to its adoption by extremists, said he worked with Moon for years in Manila, Philippines, as a fellow 8chan administrator.
Brennan said that, while websites like 4chan and 8chan can pose substantial national security risks, “what Moon is doing is worse, because he’s actually targeting specific people” on a more organized website.
When reached for comment, Moon replied via email, “The press are scum.” He did not respond to specific questions.
Cloudflare are a bunch of cowards. Protecting people from harm is a 'dangerous' precedent? I'm all for freedom of speech insofar as ideas are concerned, but this sort of behaviour is and always has been targeted. KiwiFarms is not a new outfit. Cloudflare's ignorance is a terrible look. If I could avoid using them as a customer, I would.