“Immediate danger to human life”: Cloudflare blocks Hetzforum

Cloudflare has removed protection against DDoS attacks from a notorious online forum. A few days earlier, the US company had ruled that out.


The US company Cloudflare has blocked a particularly notorious online forum called Kiwi Farms and not only withdrawn its in-house protection against DDoS attacks. “We believe this is an unprecedented emergency and there is an imminent threat to human life,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explained in a blog post. If you call up the page, you should only see a message, but not the forum itself.


With that, Prince justifies a clear reversal, because in the middle of last week he explained in a detailed article why his company no longer wanted to terminate the contracts of Internet portals. But then you had to make an “extraordinary” and “dangerous” decision that you don’t feel comfortable with. This was preceded by public calls for Cloudflare to take this step. This campaign was not decisive for the step, assures Prince.

Kiwi Farms has been online since 2013 and was founded by a former moderator of the 8chan imageboard. As US media explain, in recent years it has become a rallying point for attacks on people who identify as LGBTQIA+. There, real hate campaigns are organized against them, addresses are made public, malicious rumors are spread and families and friends are attacked. Police operations against the opera were also organized again and again, the so-called swatting.

The forum and the protection Cloudflare offers against DDoS attacks has now come into the public eye after the US news site NBC News made the fate of Clara Sorrenti (Keffals) public. The Twitch streamer had therefore criticized anti-trans legislation in the United States and was thus targeted by forum users. Not only did they set the police on her with a threat of violence spread in her name, even the police officers who announced an investigation were threatened. The Canadian was not even able to escape the attacks by fleeing to Europe.

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Cloudflare now assures that it has not withdrawn Kiwi Farms’ in-house protections because of the campaign associated with these events. All it says is that rhetoric on Kiwi Famrs has escalated over the past 48 hours, as have specific, targeted threats. That’s why you had to react. The US company does not go into more detail, but admits that the problem should not be solved. According to the AP news agency, Kiwi Farms has meanwhile switched to the Russian service provider DDoS-Guard.

The debate about protecting offensive, violent, or harassing sites is not new to Cloudflare. The US company withdrew DDoS protection from the neo-Nazi site “The Daily Stormer” in 2017, followed by 8chan in 2019. Cloudflare boss Prince has stated that it was wrong that he had so much power, because the pages then disappeared from the Internet and were extremely difficult to access. Last Wednesday, Prince explained that as a result, significantly more autocratic regimes had demanded that Cloudflare terminate the contracts of humanitarian organizations, often citing the reasons Cloudflare itself had given in the two individual cases. That’s why no other should actually follow.