Internet provider drops Kiwi Farms forum linked to harassment

Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash.

Earlier this month, the internet forum Kiwi Farms was dropped by its primary service provider, Cloudflare, after intense public pressure protesting the website’s encouragement of hate crimes. 

Since its inception nearly a decade ago, Kiwi Farms has been known to be a platform for harassment campaigns, particularly against members of the LGBTQ+ community. The forum has historically been used for attacks on individuals, such as by swatting—sending a false tip to authorities so that police will raid an individual’s home—and doxxing—publishing an individual’s private info on the internet with malicious intent.

A new Kiwi Farms site went online earlier this week, but was reported to have major security flaws in protecting user data. As the site owner of the new Kiwi Farms forum works to resolve the security issues, they warn that account usernames, passwords, emails and IP-address may have been leaked following a massive data breach on Sept.19.

The effort to get Kiwi Farms removed from Cloudfare reached its peak after Clara Sorrenti, a transgender Twitch streamer known as Keffals, was repeatedly doxxed by the forum. Last month, she was swatted and arrested in her own home by London police. Sorrenti fled to Ireland out of fear, where she was found and targeted again in a matter of days.

These attacks resulted in Sorrenti reaching out to multiple news outlets and posting on social media about the harassment she endured. She led a #DropKiwiFarms movement on Twitter that quickly picked up traction.

In the midst of the situation, Cloudflare was hit with widespread backlash. The service ultimately decided to take down Kiwi Farms after violent threats escalated on the forum. Following their decision, users were met with a statement when attempting to access the site: “Due to an imminent and emergency threat to human life, the content of this site is blocked from being accessed through Cloudflare’s infrastructure.” 

Opponents of the take-down argue that by dropping the website, Cloudfare is censoring free speech. Others counter that the harm done by Kiwi Farms far outweighed any semblance of free speech protections that it claimed to have.

Since the removal of the Kiwi Farms forum, an anonymous individual  bought the URL and redirected it to the Transgender Law Center website, where people can donate to “advance the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, defend our victories and ensure our movement’s strength.”

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