Cloudflare decided to end its services to Kiwi Farms just a few days later defend the website’s eligibility for its services.
Kiwi Farms is an online forum that frequently features malicious harassment of minority communities and individuals. Some members have even organized real-world harassment, doxing, and hitting targets they hate. Three suicides are credibly linked to hateful harassment by members of Kiwi Farms.
Harassment on the forums led to a campaign asking Cloudflare to take down the site in the public interest.
Repugnant content alone does not create an emergency that requires the action we are taking today
Cloudflare responded to this campaign last week with a statement that its policies mean it would continue serving the forums.
“Hosting products are products where Cloudflare is the ultimate host of the content,” CEO Matthew Prince and VP Alissa Starzak wrote at the time. “This is different from products where we just provide security or temporary caching services and the content is hosted elsewhere.”
On Sunday, prince announced that Cloudflare had stopped serving kiwifruit farms.
“This is an extraordinary decision for us, and given Cloudflare’s role as an internet infrastructure provider, a dangerous one that we are not comfortable with,” Prince wrote, adding, “The rhetoric about kiwi farms certainly [sic] Website and specific targeted threats have escalated to such an extent in the past 48 hours that we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and imminent threat to human life, unlike anything we have seen from Kiwifarms or any other client before.”
Price said Cloudflare’s decision was based on the escalation of threats posted to Kiwi Farms, and not the campaign to get the company to stop serving the forum.
“Kiwifarms has frequently hosted obnoxious content. Disgusting content alone does not create an emergency that requires the actions we are taking today,” Prince wrote.
“We are also not taking this action directly because of the pressure campaign,” Prince wrote Sunday, saying Cloudflare has “empathy for its organizers,” but the company has “a duty as a security provider to protect our customers, even if they run deep in the public domain.” contrary to opinion or even our own morality.”
“However, as the print campaign escalated, so did the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms website. The users of the site felt attacked and became even more aggressive. Over the past two weeks, we have been proactively reaching out to law enforcement agencies in multiple jurisdictions, highlighting what we believe are potential criminal acts and imminent threats to human life that have been posted on the site.”
Prince said the decision leaves Cloudflare’s abuse policies unchanged and lamented that in the absence of “a mechanism, the decision must be made when there is an imminent threat to human life for infrastructure providers to appropriately work with legal authorities to safeguard the decisions we make.” are based on due process.”
“Unfortunately, that mechanism doesn’t exist, and so we’re making this uncomfortable emergency decision alone,” the CEO wrote.
Prince added he expected the decision would provide Kiwi Farms with another provider, a prediction that has come true: Kiwi Farms moved to a Russian domain and found another DDOS prevention service. The registry spent a few seconds on the site to check if it was accessible and immediately found a thread disputing Prince’s report of Cloudflare’s assessment of escalated threats popping up on the forum. ®
https://www.theregister.com/2022/09/05/cloudflare_emergency_decision/ Cloudflare halts services for ‘revolting’ far-right hate site • The Register