Controversial forum Kiwi Farms taken offline over ‘imminent threats to human life’

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Cloudflare, a high-profile online service and security company, has taken the largely unprecedented step of blocking access to its customer, the forum Kiwi Farms. Kiwi Farms, a chan-adjacent forum linked to multiple harassment campaigns, suicides, and the 2019 Christchurch shooting in New Zealand, has most recently played host to a concerted, life-threatening harassment campaign against the left-wing Twitch streamer Clara ‘Keffals’ Sorrenti that has forced her to flee her native Canada.

Sorrenti was swatted at the beginning of August, with the police of London, Ontario, coming to her home on August 5 in response to a fraudulent mass shooting threat made in Sorrenti’s name. Sorrenti moved to a hotel, where stalkers were able to identify her location by comparing the bedsheets in an image shared to Twitter against promotional images of hotels online. 

Sorrenti then flew to Northern Ireland, where Kiwi Farms users ascertained her location once more and shared an image of her lodgings with a threatening message online. This entire time, Sorrenti has remained outspoken in defiance of the threat to her life, and initiated a campaign to pressure Cloudflare to terminate its client relationship to Kiwi Farms.

While Cloudflare does not host Kiwi Farms, its security services are still essential to the site’s operation. Until September 3, the company maintained that it would not end its services to Kiwi Farms, asserting that intersession by law enforcement would be the proper way to end the site’s activities, and outlining its abuse policy.

That changed on September 3, when Cloudflare blocked access to Kiwi Farms, with pages on the domain instead loading to a block page and a link to a blog post by Cloudflare president Matthew Prince. Prince stated that the move was not in response to the pressure campaign and increased public scrutiny, but rather an “imminent and emergency threat to human life which continues to escalate.”

Prince asserts that this is an extraordinary measure, and one that he does not want to become a precedent for the company. Both Prince, in his blog post, and Sorrenti, in a public statement shared to Twitter, acknowledged that the site could find an alternate security provider and come back online. Sorrenti concluded her statement by saying: “We should celebrate all of our hard work. We did what no one else could. However, this is not the end. If we want to see the end of Kiwi Farms and communities like theirs, we must continue fighting.” Sorrenti has a GoFundMe active to aid with the costs associated with this sequence of events.

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