Web security firm Cloudfare on Saturday dropped its services for harassing the Kiwifarms website, citing a “threat to human life” posed by users of the social media platform.
In recent weeks, Cloudfare has faced calls from transgender rights activists to shut down the website, which they say provides a platform for users who harass, dox and threaten the LGBTQ+ community.
Earlier this week Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudfare, defended the company’s decision to continue defending controversial websites.
However, on Sunday Prince said in a blog post that visitors browsing Kiwifarms will now see a pop-up blocking access, with a link to his message.
Prince said the website hosted “revolting content” that escalated into “potential criminal acts and imminent threats to human life”.
“This is an extraordinary decision for us to make and, given Cloudflare’s role as an Internet infrastructure provider, a dangerous decision that we are not comfortable with,” he wrote, claiming he had to shut down the website even after working with law enforcement.
“The rhetoric on the Kiwifarms site and the specific and targeted threats have escalated over the past 48 hours to the point where we believe there is an unprecedented urgency and an immediate threat to human life contrary to what we believe. have seen from Kiwifarms or any other customer before,” Prince added.
Clara Sorrenti, a Twitch streamer behind the “DropKiwifarms” campaignsaid the far-right platform is “collapsed as we speak”.
“For now they were able to get the website up, but now it’s on the dark web,” Sorrenti said. tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Less than 1% of users will come now that it’s incredibly inaccessible. It’s a huge victory. »
Sorrenti began her campaign after Kiwifarms users made threats against her life, leaked sexually explicit photos of her and even doxed her – or posted information about her online.
Cloudfare is used by over 20% of the entire internet for its web security services. The company protects online customer websites, typically against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyberattacks, which can shut down a website by flooding it with bogus traffic.
Kiwifarms, which evolved from a Wiki site in 2008, is a chat platform where users communicate in discussion threads. Most of the site is used to specifically target and harass online personalities, particularly the transgender community.
According to Sorrenti, who tracked harassed targets, users have been known to record “Kill Counts” – of targets who have committed suicide – in their profile bios.
Cloudfare has already twice dropped services for customers found to be in violation of its policies.
In 2017, Cloudfare dropped support for The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website. In 2019, they discontinued the services of conspiratorial social platform 8chan, which was used by mass shooters to post manifestos or screeds, including the El Paso, Texas shooter in August 2019.
However, both websites found another internet infrastructure that allowed them to come back online. The same could be true for Kiwifarms, Prince wrote in his blog.
“We recognize that while our blocking of Kiwifarms temporarily resolves the situation, it in no way resolves the underlying issue. This solution will require a lot more work in society,” he wrote.