NEW YORK – A Russia-based supplier cut web protection services on Monday for Kiwi Farms, becoming the second supplier within two days to drop its notorious stalking and harassment website and make it inaccessible on the public internet.
DDoS-Guard says it doesn’t have to decide if websites are breaking the law, and it often restricts access to a website in cases like receiving a court order. The company said it took action this time, however, after receiving “many” complaints.
“After analyzing the website’s content, we have decided to terminate the anti-DDoS protection services” for a version of the Kiwi Farms website with the Russian .ru domain name, the company said. The .ru website, which was registered in mid-July, was running intermittently after Cloudfare cut service on Saturday.
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The site, created and operated by 29-year-old Joshua Conner Moon, has become a hub for brutal harassment and fraud against transgender people, feminists and people of color.
Moon founded Kiwi Farms nearly a decade ago as a wiki dedicated to harassing a transgender woman; Moon even used the woman’s initials in the first version of the site’s name. Over time, its users began to target other people – mostly active online users who were transgender, had autism, or had other mental illnesses. Kiwi Farms in its current form was born in 2015.
The overarching topic of discussions on the site centered on the strong user opposition to transgender children receiving sex-determined medical care. Members often refer to advocates of treatment as “peddlers” and “pedophiles,” rhetoric that is also increasingly used by conservatives to protest LGBTQ2 rights.
Kiwi Farms’ offline attack – both Cloudflare and DDoS-Guard protect websites from distributed denial of service and other attacks – follows a furious campaign led by users Transgender Canadian Twitch media Clara Sorrenti leads the way.
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Cloudfare CEO Matthew Prince said in a blog post on Saturday that he was troubled by the free speech implications of effectively canceling the Kiwi Farms organization, an example Upcoming face earlier this week defended his decision not to cut his forum. But he said the escalating targeted threats on the site posed an “immediate threat to human life” of dimensions his company had never seen.
The California company has helped defend far-right sites in the past, though it dropped the Nazi’s Daily Stormer site as a client in 2017 after a protester was killed by a motorist at a White nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. In 2019, it did the same to the troll forum 8chan after posting on its pages about a racial slur by the man who killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart.
Sorrenti, who visits “Keffals” online, launched her campaign in August but relentless scams and other harassment forced her to leave her home in London, Ont. last month. However, the online stalkers did not give up and followed her to Northern Ireland, stepping up their harassment.
On Monday, Sorrenti tweeted that she would have her final update on the campaign against Kiwi Farms.
“We won,” she said.
It’s unclear if Kiwi Farms will find a new home or if its users might start congregating on a new forum.
Posting on Telegram on Monday, Moon said the site would be down for at least a week while he went to the emergency room for his family. The site’s prospects are dim, he said, though Cloudflare has given him a way to register his .net domain elsewhere.
Moon said the IP addresses he controls were at risk of being revoked by Australia. They will allow him to host himself, but he still needs an internet connection and protection against DDoS attacks.
Moon writes: “I don’t see any case where Kiwi Farms were simply allowed to operate. “It will become a fractured shell of itself, like 8chan, or jump between servers and domains like Daily Stormer.”
Moon provided an address on the dark web, accessible through the Tor browser. However, a website was not up. A message says it has been disconnected.
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