Cloudflare says services will continue for controversial Kiwi Farms website

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Despite mounting pressure to cut ties with Kiwi Farms, an online forum notorious for spreading hate and fueling harassment, internet services company Cloudflare suggested in a statement Wednesday that he has no plans to drop the website as a customer.

“Terminating security services for content that our team personally deems disgusting and immoral would be the popular choice,” Cloudflare said, in a blog post written by CEO Matthew Prince and global public policy chief Alissa Starzak. not mention Kiwi Farms by name. “But, in the long run, such choices make it harder to protect content that supports oppressed and marginalized voices from attack.”

Cloudflare offers a range of services to digital customers, from cybersecurity to web hosting. The company made headlines in 2019 after publicly supporting the 8chan forum, a site notorious for hosting violent hate speech, where the shooter who killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso released its manifesto, causing it to be temporarily closed. Cloudflare previously terminated its services to the extremist site Daily Stormer.

The company recently came under fire for providing security services to Kiwi Farms, whose users frequently dox and harass transgender people and where a campaign specifically targeting a popular Twitch trans streamer drove it into hiding. Streamer and activist Clara Sorrenti, known as Keffals on social media, detailed in videos his experiences being doxed — when someone’s private information is posted online, usually in cyberbullying and cyberattack scenarios — and crushed, a cybercrime that aims to send armed emergency personnel to a victim’s residence after a prank call to 911.

Sorrenti is now main calls for Cloudflare to end its ongoing business relationship with Kiwi Farms, and to receive broad support from internet users as well as LGBTQ+ and women’s rights organizations. The Anti-Defamation League also called on Cloudflare to abandon Kiwi Farms, calling it “an extremist-friendly forum that has been the breeding ground for countless harassment campaigns, including this recent brutal smash, doxing and hacking campaign. ” in a Tweeter Last week.

Although Cloudflare did not refer to Kiwi Farms by name in its Wednesday blog post, titled “Cloudflare’s Approach to Abuse and Policies,” the company acknowledged that the statement came in response to “questions that have arisen” about how it handles abuse when issues arise that are related to its products and services.

The company explained that the content shared on the sites it hosts is subject to deletion if it violates Cloudflare’s policies against content that is “illegal, harmful, or violates the rights of others, including content that discloses sensitive personal information, incites or exploits violence against people or animals, or seeks to defraud the public”. But most of its customers only use Cloudflare’s security services and don’t face the same content restrictions. Cloudflare confirmed that it does not host the Kiwi Farms website in comments to CBS News.

“The policies we have developed reflect the ideas and recommendations of human rights experts, activists, academics and regulators,” the statement said. “Our guiding principles require that abuse policies be specific to the service being used. This is to ensure that any actions we take reflect both the ability to remedy harm and minimize unintended consequences.”

Defending his argument against terminating security services to websites whose Cloudflare content says so”[finds] reprehensible,” the company said it could set a dangerous precedent for speech censorship and cause the kind of backlash it received after it canceled the Daily Stormer and 8chan services.

“Some argue that we should shut down those services with content that we find objectionable so that others can launch attacks to take it offline. It’s the equivalent argument in the physical world that firefighters shouldn’t responding to fires in the homes of people who lack sufficient moral character,” Cloudflare said. “Both in the physical world and online, this is a dangerous precedent, and one that, in the long run , is most likely to disproportionately harm vulnerable and marginalized communities.”

Cloudflare said the responses it received after dropping the Daily Stormer and 8chan were “deeply disturbing” and recalled “a dramatic rise in authoritarian regimes trying to get us to terminate the security services of rights organizations of man – often quoting the language of our own justification.”

“Since these decisions, we have had important discussions with policymakers around the world,” the statement continued. “From these discussions, we concluded that the power to terminate security services for sites was not a power Cloudflare should have.”

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