Internet services company Cloudflare blocks Kiwi Farms due to “targeted threats”.

Internet hosting and security services provider Cloudflare said on Saturday it would block a Kiwi Farms website linked to anti-transgender harassment campaigns.

The announcement casts doubt on the future of the fringe internet forum, although some members have already begun exploring the possibility of Cloudflare moving in and other options.

When trying to access the Kiwi Farms website on Saturday evening, an error message appeared that said, “Due to an imminent and urgent threat to human life, access to this site’s content has been blocked through Cloudflare’s infrastructure.”

The move comes after a trans Twitch streamer was targeted for abuse by Cloudflare’s Kiwi Farms users.

Broadcaster Clara Sorrenti, known to her fans as Keffals, responded in a tweet on Saturday. “Cloudflare released Kiwi Farms. Our campaign will issue a statement soon,” Sorrenti said.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince announced the move in a blog post and did not name Sorrenti, but said abuse of Kiwi Farms had intensified in response to his campaign.

“This is an unusual decision for us, and a dangerous one given Cloudflare’s role as an Internet infrastructure provider,” Cloudflare said in a statement.

“However, the rhetoric and specific, targeted threats on the Kiwifarms website have escalated over the past 48 hours to the point that we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and an immediate threat to human life unlike anything we have seen before for Kiwifarms or any other customer. .”

NBC News reported on Friday that Sorrenti is one of Kiwi Farms’ growing list of targets, and his stalking methods could become a playbook against political foes as the 2024 US presidential election nears.

Kiwi Farms owner Josh Moon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News on Saturday. In a post on the Kiwi Farms Telegram account, Cloudflare’s decision was “made without discussion.”

“The message I received is a vague termination notice. Matthew Prince’s message is unclear,” the post said. If there is any threat to life on the site, I have not received any information from any law enforcement agencies.”

Cloudflare is an internet services company that provides websites with a variety of critical resources, notably a content delivery network and mitigating distributed denial-of-service campaigns, or DDoS, a common cyberattack that floods websites with fake internet traffic and renders them unusable.

Cloudflare’s central role as one of the main providers of these services has also made the company a flashpoint around extremist internet operations.

The company has previously been hesitant to take action against certain websites or Internet operations, citing concerns about the power it wields in terms of who can have a presence on the Internet.

In 2017, Cloudflare said it would no longer serve the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi message board.

Prince also warned about Cloudflare’s role in taking websites offline.

“Smart people can and do believe all this. But the fact that the content control mechanism is vigilante hackers launching DDoS attacks defeats any rational concept of justice,” Prince wrote in a blog post, referring to the inevitability of cyberattacks that would take the Daily Stormer offline.

Kiwi Farms users had been anticipating Cloudflare’s ban for weeks and had created contingency plans in case the site was shut down, including accounts and communities on Telegram, as well as alternate internet domains.

While Kiwi Farms’ archive of personal information on political foes is notoriously difficult to access and add to, the site’s user base intends to continue following trans people online, according to Telegram posts about the site’s potential shutdown. .

“They’re thinking about what’s next,” said Fredrik Brennan, who worked with Moon when they were both administrators on the fringe message board 8chan. “I’m watching them closely, and they’re already thinking about how to move everything to Telegram.”

Brennan has since denounced his creation, 8chan, and successfully advocated for the page’s removal from Cloudflare in 2019.

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