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Blocking Kiwifarms (cloudflare.com)
994 points by _vvaw on Sept 3, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 1633 comments

Reading over the comments I see everyone thinking this is about “free speech.” It is not. It’s about what in the US you’d call “due process” and in all the rest of the world you’d call “rule of law.”

Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

That’s a failure of the rule of law on two dimensions: we shouldn’t be the ones making that call, and no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat.

Encourage you when these issues arise to think of them in the rule of law context, rather than free speech, in order to have a more robust conversation with frameworks that have an appeal and applicability across nearly every nation and government.

>rather than free speech

i encourage anybody who is calls themselves a "free speech advocate" to consider what kiwifarms has been doing to "free speech". their intimidation campaigns have been doing a lot more to harm the cause of free speech than this decision by cloudflare is. if you really believe in free speech, you understand that trans people deserve free speech too, and kiwifarms harrasment campaigns have been harming their free speech. free speech is for everybody, not just the people who have opinions you agree with, and being openly trans is a form of speech.

There seems to be a double standard with who can partake in intimidation campaigns.

Before any mention of keffals in Kiwifarms she was running a harassment campaign against Destiny, making false accusations that he was a rapist and rallying their followers to get him de-platformed on all platforms.

The worst situation is having one sided intimidation campaigns where trans activists can de-platform users like Destiny but they cannot defend themselves due to either losing remaining platforms or fear of losing their remaining platforms.

Making accusations against someone and trying to get them deplatformed is not the same as threatening someone with violence. I know very few details but the moral equivalence you’re drawing in this comment is false.

Is it? Attacking someone's livelihood is a very real and impactful form of aggression. Compared threats of violence there's more cases where it's warranted, yes, but I think I would personally rather be on the receiving end of threats of violence than of someone attempting to make me lose my job and become much harder to employ.

Of course actual violence is a different case altogether.

If that's your stance then that's fine. However, the correct approach would have been for Destiny to take legal action, instead of vigilantism.

In addition, the prior comments talk about things that may causally limit freedom of speech. Losing your job does not mean losing your voice.

When it comes to how FoS is constitutionally defined (across several countries), it is worth learning about "fighting words." Nearly every justice system agrees that any goes, except words that may (not merely will) cause imminent harm. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

>the correct approach would have been for Destiny to take legal action, instead of vigilantism.

So the correct response to percieved harrassment is indeed taking legal action, and not, say, mobilizing mobs to retaliate back ? Mmm, I wonder who needs to hear that.

It's quite frightening how people cannot piece together the logic like this when it comes to situations involving transgenderism.

You're obviously correct here, and I'm still trying to figure out how the above poster didn't realize what they were saying as they were saying it.

What's more frightening is how many people can't piece together that every situation is not a dichotomy.

As far as I understand, the people on kiwifarms _also_ try to get their targets fired by enailing their employees and claiming their targets are pedophiles or something like that.

Publicly calling someone a rapist can very well get someone injured or killed. Unless you’re a victim whose pleas are being completely ignored by the legal system, it’s not justifiable and not something that should be taken as anything but a threat to someone’s life.

I have no clue who these people are or what the situation is, but I’ve seen more than enough angry mobs appear out of nowhere after an accusation of a crime.

“I have no clue who these people are or what the situation is, but I’ve seen more than enough angry mobs appear out of nowhere after an accusation of a crime.”

What are some specific examples of this phenomenon you’re referring to?


"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." Humans are inherently tribal. If enough of us get together in a group, we are capable of terrible things - and the justification of them.

Violent mobs organised through private channels by men seems to be more similar to what KiwiFarms are doing than what they are reacting to.

This seems like a fundamentally different scenario than the OP I was responding to, glad I asked for specifics ;)

If I'm not mistaken, the threat of violence came from someone USING the KF platform, not KF itself. If you want to make equivalences, deplatforming Destiny means removing him FROM a platform, and thus the person making threats should have been banned from KF to result an an equivalence. Yet the action taken was to actually remove the entire platform.

Am I wrong here?

I'm unfamiliar with KF but if a platform can't or won't do a good enough job of moderating its content and users, then transitively the platform itself needs to be blocked.

...and who makes this decision? What's the measurement of doing a "good enough job?"

I was responding to this comment:

“There seems to be a double standard with who can partake in intimidation campaigns.”

This is the post the got the site shut down: https://i.imgur.com/S1z3Po2.jpg

And btw, kiwifarms had to get their own ip block because no one would host them any more that was like 5+ years ago or something. So cloudflare never really provided any service to the site as their IPs were public knowledge and could be ddos'd (hence why it is always going down)

A post deleted as soon as a mod saw it (~30 minutes) with an account ban, by an account with virtually no posting history before this drama started.... hmmm

I also have no idea why this website is responsible for a random post by a user, when the post is apparently against the stated rules of the forum?

Are there not death threats posted on Twitter and Facebook all the time?

Because it is just a pretext and not an actual reason.

As far as I know both the people who doxxed kavanagh and jk Rowling are still happily posting on twitter.

Oh and the journalist who threatened those schoolboys with violence.

Of course those aren’t real threats of violence apparently. Only the right threatens actual violence. The left only does rhetoric. /s

Those people should also be banned from twitter. Just because some folks aren't banned when they should be doesn't mean we should stop banning everyone.

This isn't a left vs right thing. It's a "we shouldn't let people bring harm to other people online" thing. It seems you're the one making it left vs right.

...but they aren't banned from Twitter: that's the point. "Should" is different from "are" -- and "should" doesn't mean a whole bunch.

Last I checked both Kavanaugh and Rowling have shit loads of security. I can't say the same for a random trans person, can you???

Ah yes, because having security makes it okay.

>making false accusations that he was a rapist

This is a lie. What happened is Destiny had a tirade about how to him stealthing isn’t rape, and Keffals pointed it out. Then KF went wild, as seen above.

For people who don't like to hide an essay's worth of scum behind a two-syllable word, "stealthing" is used above to describe putting on a condom to obtain consent and then discreetly removing the condom after consent is obtained.

No Keffals said that destiny is a rapist


Good point, stealthing is in fact rape.

Has Destiny admitted to stealthing, or merely given his own opinion on whether or not stealthing is rape?

What does that have to do with my statement agreeing that stealthing is in fact rape?

At no point has he said that he stealthed anybody, and nobody has made an accusations against him for that.

Your post is dangerous misinformation.

I would suggest taking a deep breath. I didn't accuse anyone of anything, I pointed out that stealthing is rape. I did so because stealthing is in fact rape. I don't know how that simple fact is misinformation, let alone dangerous - please explain.

You left the part out where Keffals once again went out of their way to then get Destiny (and by Keffals own words, livelihood) de-platformed first and how Keffals is the one in fact who started the fight with KF. (who only looked further into the person's pretty unsavory history because of their freak out)

To this day Kiwifarms still hosts the Christchurch video.

They posted the AU Government’s takedown order along with their response: “were a US company,” refusing to remove it.

You can still find it by searching for “AU Government Class 1 Security Kiwifarms”

They clearly want to keep this content up.

Yes and thank god they do. I watched it several times so I could better understand what happened in this scenario and what an evil person may do if I find myself unarmed with a pile of people in a confined space like this. I learned that hiding in the corner resulted in piles of people simply ending up getting shot, and that immediately exiting out through windows and other less expected exit points greatly aided survivors. This is counter to idiotic advice my teachers gave me, like hiding under chairs and desks, which the shooter in Uvalde took advantage of to massacre virtually all the children in their room.

After watching the videos I came up with a plan as to what to do if an evil person ever enters close quarters building and I have no way to fight back. Only by watching such a gruesome video with such explicit results did it really drive home what the stakes are. I truly believe Kiwifarms may save lives by keeping up this video.

It's amazing the degree to which people are fine treating their fellow humans as means towards an end. Even unarmed victims of a massacre. We should put a Netflix Original series out that is curated gore videos with commentary from former cops, military, mercenaries, etc. about surviving horrific situations unarmed. Who cares about the families of the victims or the survivors?

>It's amazing the degree to which people are fine treating their fellow humans as means towards an end.

I could make that exact statement about those wanting to restrict the video. They want the end result of the video being unshared, and they're willing to discard the freedom of speech rights of other humans in their efforts.

Free speech is not guaranteed if it harms others.

In the case of the Christchurch video, the harm has already been done. One could argue that sharing the video creates demand for more shooting videos (as is argued with CSAM), but the USA considers this to be protected for whatever reason (unlike CSAM or obscenity).

I question whether mere possession of CSAM without any personal proximity to abuse isn't the digital version of allowing police an easy way to plant weed. It (the planting of this evidence) seems like way too convenient of a way to prosecute any political enemies, other disfavored groups, etc. And there's no one to cross-examine, except the policeman who potentially planted it themselves. IMO until police corruption is sorted out, these kind of prosecutions should require accusations or confirmation from the abused that the person in question actually was involved in the abuse.

In fact, this may be one of the reason why the founders were free speech 'extremists.' If merely _owning_ some information that is easily plantable is illegal, it is trivial to frame someone.

Free speech is about giving people the freedom to say things I find disgusting. It's about giving each individual the choice to listen to what ever influence they wish. It takes the the power of ideas and elevates them above physical force.

> It takes the the power of ideas and elevates them above physical force.

This is exactly why dropping Kiwi Farms was the right decision. There is a difference between saying hateful things and doxing and harassing people with threats of violence.

We don't even need to dip into the endless debate about tolerating hate -- there's no level of ideological indirection here, Kiwi Farms was just very straightforwardly driving people offline with threats of physical harm and real-world harassment.

No that's why this issue should have been dealt with promptly and firmly by a justice system not by a corporate choice.

We can't have a society that requires CEO to decide who is morally acceptable and who is not.

If law's have been broken we need law enforcement.

Endless reminder that having multiple layers of moderation protects free speech, it doesn't restrict it.

You do not want the government to be the sole arbitrator of what content should be online. That is exactly how you end up with laws like SESTA/FOSTA.

Our government exists to set a baseline of unacceptable speech that private services can build on top of. As we move futher up the stack to the network level, and then the hosting level, and then the forum level, we allow more moderation -- each level refines its definition of acceptable content a little, and then the next level builds on top of that.

In this case, I actually do agree that Kiwi Farms probably crossed that government baseline; it was such an egregious case that it probably should be addressed in law in some way. But in general it is a bad idea to say that we're going to solve every decision about what content is and isn't acceptable by hauling someone in front of a judge. That's a recipe for chilling speech, not expanding it.

> Endless reminder that having multiple layers of moderation protects free speech, it doesn't restrict it.

Perhaps. I'm skeptical of concentrations of power wherever it is: government, Cloudflare, Facebook, etc. At least the former is theoretically accountable for choices.

Also, Cloudflare asserts their position is that they largely do not want to restrict speech beyond that government baseline and they won't act themselves against speech. Here they claim they are forced to (and they probably were).

> I'm skeptical of concentrations of power wherever it is: government, Cloudflare, Facebook, etc.

Not to hammer the point to hard, but de-concentrating power is the exact reason why it is better to have moderation decisions across multiple layers of the network stack rather than in level 0 (the government).

Forum messes up on moderation? Not a big deal.

Web host starts making bad decisions? Tons of options.

Clouldflare banning you? Tougher, but there are multiple CDN services, if Cloudflare becomes evil it's not necessarily the end of the world.

ISP banning you? Now we start getting pretty dangerous, there are fewer options available to services and if moderation decisions are made poorly, that can have effects across the entire network for everyone.

The government prosecuting you? This is level 0 of the network stack.

The way that we guard against concentration of power is by de-concentrating it. Cloudflare (and to be fair, other large Internet companies too) are arguing for the opposite of that. In the specific case of Kiwi Farms, maybe this example is so egregious that it does make sense to have some new laws. I kind of agree with that. But no good law will be enough on its own to get rid of Cloudflare's responsibility, the only law responsive enough and fast enough to do that would be one that violated free speech rights.

> Not to hammer the point to hard, but de-concentrating power is the exact reason why it is better to have moderation decisions across multiple layers of the network stack rather than in level 0 (the government).

I'm not disagreeing with your entire argument, just that portion.

Multiple layers of moderation are only safer for free speech to the extent that none of them have too central of a role and there's some degree of visibility as to what is happening.

One of the things that has made social media so toxic to speech is that it has A) gathered so much of the "share" of being a conduit of speech at scale, and B) creates a false feeling of consensus by creating playing fields that are tilted in various ways without the tampering being obvious.

I heavily agree with you that centralization on a single layer is problematic for free speech.

I suspect where I differ from the CEOs of companies like Cloudflare/Facebook, is that I think the solution to that isn't to get rid of moderation, but rather to enforce antitrust and break up their companies. :)

Facebook in particular has this problem; it's constantly asking the government to tell it what to do because it doesn't want to be in charge of speech, and yet it has no problem buying competitors and trying to take over markets. It makes me wonder how concerned about speech these companies actually are, since they had no problem growing their companies to this size and putting themselves into situations where their moderation decisions carry so much weight.

> I suspect where I differ from the CEOs of companies like Cloudflare/Facebook, is that I think the solution to that isn't to get rid of moderation, but rather to enforce antitrust and break up their companies. :)

I'm not sure whether Cloudflare deserves antitrust action. But, yes, Facebook is concerning.

Of course, you've got to acknowledge the flip-side. Sometimes it should be left up to the government. If your internet service is a natural monopoly (perhaps augmented with protections of a franchise agreement from the government), it's especially problematic for them to be making moderation decisions.

All in all, it's hard.

> it's constantly asking the government to tell it what to do because it doesn't want to be in charge of speech

This is a bad thing, according to you? Should Facebook instead make those decisions on its own?

The thing is, no matter what Facebook decides there will be criticism. If they make the decisions on their own, bad. If they ask for government to decide what speech is lawful and what isn’t, bad. If they don’t block fake news, bad. If they block fake news and realise months later it was real, bad.

And your genius solution is to break up the company. But any network, regardless of size will have this issue. The rise of Tiktok makes this very obvious. There’s tonnes of misinformation on Tiktok but it doesn’t get the same coverage because that’s not what aligns with the NYT’s priorities. Tiktok gets around the content moderation problem by simply saying and doing nothing, hoping no one notices.

So what’s your solution to TikTok? Break it up as well? Into what pieces?

The problem with people who come up with simplistic, unrealistic solutions to hard problems is that when the obvious flaws are pointed out in their thinking, they’ll double down.

The weight of any moderation decision is directly proportional to the size of the platform making that decision. This is a generally well understood principle in a lot of free speech circles, I'm surprised that of everything I've written about Kiwi Farms here, this is the thing that is getting the most pushback from people.

The principle behind breaking up platforms is that individual moderation decisions do become harder the more people that they impact. It's also not just a free speech thing, this is the same reason why it's dangerous to have a browser monoculture. If I tell you that having one company in charge of the entire web makes their individual decisions about the web more impactful and more dangerous, that's something you understand, right?

Same deal for moderation.

Of course, see mlyle's other sibling comment -- sometimes we genuinely can't do anything about a natural monopoly and we just need to recognize what they are. But in instances where we can, decentralizing power decreases the overall risk of moderation mistakes for the entire network.

> Also, Cloudflare asserts their position is that they largely do not want to restrict speech beyond that government baseline and they won't act themselves against speech. Here they claim they are forced to (and they probably were).

CloudFlare acts against speech all the time. They'll sell you a service to screen the speech of others and then pass it onto you or not, at their decision.

CloudFlare's own terms of use for their Email Forwarding product is very clear that they will squelch your speech as well, in many conditions that don't come anywhere approaching "organizing an international manhunt to intimidate a minority": https://www.cloudflare.com/supplemental-terms/#email-routing

They should stop talking about this like it's "pure speech" because it's not that at all, and even to the extent that it is, they already limit actual "pure speech" in many other scenarios not nearly as threatening as this.

OK, you're willfully missing the point because we're talking about the position relating to Cloudflare's security services, not hosting or other products that have have a more restrictive TOS.

If what you say is true, Cloudflare's security service would be freely made available to email spammers.

Is that the case?

They laid out their position rather clearly:


This refers mostly to content, not activity.

As far as they do mention activity, they do say they ban content related to activity that is, for example, "libelous". So they'll block you for publishing insults about someone, without any further malicious activity.

They also say that they ban content used as part of malware command and control, which seems to cover spamming, meaning that they should have no problem blocking spammers trying to use their "security protection" service.

Of course it turns out I don't even have to use the analogy with spam because CloudFlare's own post that you linked to clearly states they can remove access to content that is "... harmful, or violates the rights of others, including content that discloses sensitive personal information, incites or exploits violence against people or animals ...".

That's literally been KF's modus operandi for years now. Unless CF changed their terms very recently, that behavior of KF has always been proscribed. Yet CF saw fit in their discretion to make a conscious choice to continue aiding and abetting KF in its campaign of doxxing and incitement of violence, something far worse than libel or C2.

> As far as they do mention activity, they do say they ban content related to activity that is, for example, "libelous".

You're again missing the distinction between their hosting policy and their security product policy. This was the important distinction that I first pointed out to 2 comments ago, and that I posted this document which explains clearly 1 comment ago.

> Hosting products are subject to our Acceptable Hosting Policy. Under that policy, for these products, we may remove or disable access to content that we believe:


> has been determined by appropriate legal process to be defamatory or libelous.


> Our conclusion — informed by all of the many conversations we have had and the thoughtful discussion in the broader community — is that voluntarily terminating access to services that protect against cyberattack is not the correct approach.

“They'll sell you a service to screen the speech of others and then pass it onto you or not, at their decision.”

The problem with your logic here is that you’re considering the voluntary filtering of messages by a party as being the same as stifling someone’s ability to say something. The filtered party can still say what they want but the intended recipient should always have the ability to ignore that if they so choose.

“CloudFlare's own terms of use for their Email Forwarding product is very clear that they will squelch your speech as well”

The difference between controlling what gets sent out by their email service is more a question of legal liability than free speech. They are not limiting anyone’s ability to give free speech within the confines of the law here.

To make a stronger argument maybe you need to create a stronger definition of free speech than what is defined by law to prove any violations on CF’s part.

In the case of KF, CF has only suspended them on what they could identify as undealt-with legal violations. This is fundamentally different from revoking services to silence unsavory takes.

I also imagine the doxxed information on the platform (KF) is removed after a time so attacking the whole platform at this point just seems like an effort to stifle a community with subjectively unpleasant ideologies.

If you don't like what Cloudflare or Facebook are doing, feel free to start your own alternative.

"Go start your own" is not a great response to someone being concerned about corrosive effects of the concentration of market power -- especially when those concentrations are brokering critical speech and political discourse.

Whoops you started your own, now I see all the methods of payment you use have been shut off by their various vendors. Oh you used crypto? Hope you know every single address that has interacted with a sanctioned address and never accidently accept payment from them...

Have you ever considered that if nobody wants to touch your content - nobody wants to even consider allowing it over their network - then it might actually be your content that is the problem?

Have you ever considered that you're straw-manning and not engaging with what I've actually said?

I'm not supporting Kiwifarms having a platform.

I'm saying speech being effectively squelched by a small number of powerful parties is problematic. If the small party is the government, this is obviously problematic. If Facebook is a huge part of people's discourse, and subtly tilts the playing field in various ways, this is problematic, too.

I can insulate myself (mostly) from the effects of Facebook's curation. But there are still profound social costs.

But free speech is not being "squelched" in any way. Can you explain why you think it is?

I feel like it is thoroughly explained above and my other counterparts in conversation understand the point.

I am also not sure you're conversing in good faith. You're tossing out pithy one-liners that demand greater effort to respond to than to say them. This was also my experience a long time ago when we used to discuss things on IRC (including, I believe, this exact topic).

Again, there's a difference between your free speech being "squelched", and no-one wanting to entertain your nonsense, and you haven't really explained why you think there isn't.

See danShumway's comment that puts it better than me:


Concentrated power in the path of speech or commerce is dangerous, whether it's governmental or private.

Many parties deciding independently whether to "entertain my nonsense" is good. One critical party in the path (governmental or commercial) is bad.

Okay, but there is no "concentrated power". You are just as free as anyone else to host KF.

> Okay, but there is no "concentrated power". You are just as free as anyone else to host KF.

We're not talking about hosting KF. There's lots of hosts. And Cloudflare was not hosting KF, but instead providing DDoS protection services.

But there's approximately 2-3 services that can reject DDoS at high scale. Or maybe slightly more. This is right at the threshold of concern.

Here, I think the decision that was made was a good one, but at the same time a very small number of unaccountable parties making this kind of determination is worrying.

So either don't host stuff that gets you DDoSed, or work out a way to spin up something else that copes with rejecting DDoS at scale.

Either way, if you're saying something so reprehensible that no-one will allow you to use their platform to say it, maybe you should look at what you're saying.

It's really at the point where I need to repeat the same thing:

> > > Many parties deciding independently whether to "entertain my nonsense" is good. One critical party in the path (governmental or commercial) is bad.

Have a nice rest of your day; I'm done.

>Endless reminder that having multiple layers of moderation protects free speech, it doesn't restrict it.

My issue is that the Kiwi post in question - which (to my reading) was a very VERY stupid bomb “joke” obliquely referencing the Belfast Troubles - appears to have been quickly moderated and the user banned. Which is, I thought, how this was all supposed to work.

The screenshot going around Twitter of the idiotic post was tweeted out within literal minutes of said post being made. I have no idea how long it took the KF moderators to delete the post and ban the user but, from a perusal of the following pages in that thread, it doesn’t seem like it was up very long.

So is moderation an issue? It doesn’t seem to be. Perhaps that post was the final straw, but CloudFlare is framing their action as having to step in and “moderate” specifically because of THAT post - and yet the post in question had already been (correctly) nuked from orbit by the KF mods.

Edit: here’s where I do the obligatory “I didn’t vote for Trump, however” mea culpa: I do not have a KiwiFarms account and honestly I find it to be fairly distasteful in a 2004 FYAD sort of way.

One thing I don't understand: if Kiwifarms is subject to very big, very expensive DDoS attacks - and I've seen no one denying that it is, that's the whole thing Cloudflare is needed for, after all - why would we even think an illegal threat on Kiwifarms originated with a regular Kiwifarms user? It seems a lot cheaper to make an account and post the illegal comment than to run a DDoS operation.

No Kiwifarms account here either, but I have read it and I do appreciate that some of the people wanting them shut down are... not very nice people themselves.

You might be right. Posted by a KF user regarding the threat:

"It's a 2020 account that wasn't active till a month ago with 1 post in the CWC forum and the other 42 in the keffals thread. The post was deletedly nearly instantly, yet within 10 minutes of it being posted Keffals had contacted CF, CF pulled the plug, and articles (which you can find in A&N right now) were being posted. Also it's notable that Keffals removed the quote/reply portion of the post which he accidently revealed before indicating he has an account here. This was so obviously coordinated, it glows more than nuclear blast."

Anecdote: in a Discord server I was one of the moderators at, we had a user post porn images from OnlyFans while the moderators were asleep, then report the server to Discord for hosting stolen content. The server got deleted by Discord. The user's account did not.

> You do not want the government to be the sole arbitrator of what content should be online.

No, we want the government to clandestinely meet every week with representatives of major internet companies and instruct them who to ban and what information to suppress, while pretending it's independent action of the same companies driven by their love of free speech. Or maybe we don't want that, but who cares - it's what we've got.

This is kind of exactly what I mean when I say that people haven't really though this through.

You intend this to be a gotcha, but yes, unironically getting pressured by a political representative has fewer free speech implications than the government openly threatening to throw people in prison. It does have implications; it's not ideal. But are you really arguing that the government leaning on people is worse than it would be for them to just outright force people to censor content?

I've brought up SESTA/FOSTA a few times already, but they're kind of an ever-green example. The government has been pressuring companies to deplatform sex workers for ages, but SESTA/FOSTA were still a worse outcome. I don't want the government trying to do run-arounds to the First Amendment in the first place, but if you're drawing a comparison then the world where they were privately pressuring companies was less censorious than the world where they started openly threatening website operators with felonies.

> are you really arguing that the government leaning on people is worse than it would be for them to just outright force people to censor content?

No, I am not arguing that the government asking Zuckerberg for a regular friendly chat where it tells him who to ban and he complies is worse than the government shooting Zuckerberg in the head as a traitor and nationalizing Facebook. The latter would be worse. But both are very bad and should not happen in free democratic society where freedom of speech is valued.

> if you're drawing a comparison then the world where they were privately pressuring companies was less censorious than the world where they started openly threatening website operators with felonies.

It's the same world. If the operators would not comply "voluntarily", that exactly what would happen. But the censorship by it's nature does not like exposure, so the less overt means can be used, the better. If they can do it without loud clashes, just by everybody "consenting" to it "privately" - much better. If somebody dares to step out - the pressure would be increased, up to, ultimately, using the force of violence, if necessary. That has happened many times to journalists that dug in wrong places. So far none of the companies has been dangerous enough to employ such level of pressure - usually there's always somebody in the lower levels that can help with the problem, like CF, or Amazon, or Google - but we're just getting ramped up. We'll get to felonies eventually. Unless we manage to stop it somehow.

So, does Cloudflare in this blogpost actively asking governments to take a more active role in moderation decisions across the board make it more likely for the scenario you're describing to happen, or less likely?

We can disagree about which outcome is worse or about whether they're equivalent, but other than that disagreement it doesn't sound like you're arguing that Cloudflare is being prudent or helping advance freedom of speech when it asks governments to make these decisions for it.

> But are you really arguing that the government leaning on people is worse than it would be for them to just outright force people to censor content?

Not the poster, but-- I'm not so sure either way. Both are pretty bad. The government convincing private parties to do their bidding while acting like it's just the private sector making choices blinds us all to what's happened, and gives the illusion that the decision to squash the speech is a popular, voluntary one by individual actors.

So, the government forcing it is directly more harmful but at least it is visible.

> The government has been pressuring companies to deplatform sex workers for ages, but SESTA/FOSTA were still a worse outcome. I don't want the government trying to do run-arounds to the First Amendment in the first place, but if you're drawing a comparison then the world where they were privately pressuring companies was less censorious than the world where they started openly threatening website operators with felonies.

Passing SESTA/FOSTA didn't require any "help" from free speech advocates. The government has had a longstanding policy to go overboard against prostitution and prostitution-adjacent material long before Section 230 or SESTA/FOSTA existed. Legislating run arounds against the First Amendment (e.g. Cosmtock Laws) and pressuring private industry (e.g. Hays Code), have been goto strategies since the country's founding, if not before. The solution has always been to fight it out in the courts (as in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition) or find ways around the letter of the law (Backpage pre-2018).

Pushing the issue to government at least provides consistency, rather than leaving the issue to fairweather service providers and perfidious content policies.

> at least provides consistency, rather than leaving the issue to fairweather service providers and perfidious content policies

Once again, I think this is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that people who advocate for more government involvement haven't thought about this issue enough.

Consistent censorship results in more censorship than you would see with inconsistent censorship by fairweather services.

If you want any argument about that, consider that Cloudflare dropped a number of sex sites specifically after SESTA/FOSTA was passed and not before.

Of course, it would be better to have neither situation, but an inconsistent patchwork of censorship is obviously less censorship than a consistently applied standard that even free-speech-absolutists like Cloudflare have to follow.

> or find ways around the letter of the law (Backpage pre-2018).

Once again, light legislation leads to more wiggle room for companies to interpret the law, which tends to result in less censorship overall. As proven by Backpage pre-2018.

You can still fight inconsistent censorship in the courts. You can still have laws struck down. You can still work to change public perception of censored speech or normalize it. Unless you're aiming for an acceleration of censorship (which is a usually a bad strategy), then "at least" and "provides consistency" shouldn't be chained together in the same sentence. If you believe that something is a negative outcome, a consistently negative outcome is worse than an inconsistently negative outcome.

This isn't just a free speech thing, it's just a general principle that accelerationists don't always completely grasp: the scenarios where accelerationism works to produce preferable outcomes are kind of narrow and rare. I don't want to get stabbed at all, but I prefer a world where I might get stabbed over a world where I definitely will get stabbed. Making the stabbings more consistent isn't an improvement.

Well the courts view is that the government pressuring a private entity to censor is no different than the government censoring by itself.

And I would argue the lack of transparency and ability to hide the true driver of the censorship is far worse than if the government just comes out and does it themselves.

As far as I’m aware, the government has little to no power to force a company to suppress information.

If you think US federal government has "little to no power" over the company whose main business, headquarters and most of the workers are all located in the US - you really misunderstand just how vast US federal government powers are.

Be specific. What did the US government tell companies en masse to redact, and what consequences did they threaten them with if they didn't?

(Just as a reminder, we do not live in the USSR.)

> What did the US government tell companies en masse to redact



I trust you can find many more links about this topic. As a side note, this is the part we have just learned. Is that all of it? FBI just told us it routinely instructs social media companies about which content they'd like suppressed. And, as we know, they get their wishes.

> what consequences did they threaten them with if they didn't

How would I know? I wasn't there. I know which consequences US Federal Government can visit on you if it really hates you, and that's a real lot of bad consequences. How it went on those meetings - I have no idea. Maybe they didn't even need to threaten - though they certainly did in public - the President accused Facebook of "killing people". Do you thing if the Supreme Commander of the US Army and the head of US Federal Executive tells you you're killing people and need to stop it - it's not something you need to think really really hard about?

> Just as a reminder, we do not live in the USSR

I know, I've been there. We're not. But we're inching closer and closer to there. When it'd become obvious, it'd be too late to complain - by then, any complaint outside of the boundaries of your private kitchen will land you is a big trouble. Better complain while it's still allowed.

And yet, none of this information was remotely suppressed, which suggests that the government is largely toothless with regard to these requests. Perhaps corporations acquiesce due to a gentleman's agreement, or even because they think it's the right thing to do, in which case your beef should be with them more than the government. On the whole, this feels like a "think about it, man!" kind of argument to me.

Also, these sources seem sketchy at best. Do you have reporting from a reputable newspaper? I'm not saying this didn't happen, but the way this reporting is presented definitely doesn't pass my sniff test.

FWIW, I believe that the government shouldn't be threatening corporations to censor things, but I also don't think that's what's happening here. (Though I could be wrong — waiting to read some credible investigative journalism about it.) I also don't know what the precedent is for this kind of public-private coordination.

In any case, the information still gets out, whether on social media or elsewhere.

> none of this information was remotely suppressed

But of course, state censorship is rarely 100% airtight. Neither it needs to be - it only needs to hinder the information enough to make those who dissent be unable to change anything and give those that are willing to delude themselves plausible deniability (thanks for providing the example for the latter point). In the USSR, which you previously mentioned, a lot of people knew what's going on. A lot of people listened to Western "voices" and read "prohibited" literature. And talked about it - in the confines of their kitchens. They couldn't do anything more. The KGB was powerless to eliminate the "voices" and the samizdat - but they were powerful enough to not let them have any effect for quite some time.

> Perhaps corporations acquiesce due to a gentleman's agreement,

There's no such thing as "gentleman's agreement" with the federal government that can destroy your business and your life. It's like a mafia boss "asking" you for a "favor". You both understand it's not "favor" and he's not really "asking". "Or else" doesn't need to be said explicitly - everybody knows it. But nevertheless, it has been said explicitly many times, so to believe there can be some kind of "gentleman's agreement" is naive bordering on willfully blind.

> because they think it's the right thing to do

I'm sure some think that'd the right thing to do to suppress dissent to the government, because the government is only acting for our own good and thus everyone who dissents is evil, extreme and terrorist. In fact, we've heard the government explain it to us on multiple occasions. That's not an excuse.

> Also, these sources seem sketchy at best

Come on, not this BS. Just read the freaking emails, they are right there. If you are going for "unless The Pravda publishes it, it's all libelous lies and I'm not going to read it" - you are either grasping at straws or are willing to blind yourself for partisan reasons. I can lead you to sources, I can't make you read them - if you are willing to crimestop on it, go ahead. It's still not mandatory, but many are already using it at full force - they are only willing to think about subjects pre-approved by their betters and only consume information pre-processed by the approved sources, which never would deliver anything unexpected or diverging from the prescribed doctrine. Your choice.

> I believe that the government shouldn't be threatening corporations to censor things, but I also don't think that's what's happening here

It's not "threatening", it's plain telling them now. We're way past threatening - we're in the place where the government just tells, and they jump.

> waiting to read some credible investigative journalism about it

Because you are going to ignore people who are actually willing to investigate things, and only believe "reputable" ones - i.e. ones who by definition are part of the system that implements the censorship - you're going to be waiting for a long time. About as much as Soviet citizen would wait for Pravda to publish genuine critique of the Communist Party and its General Secretary.

> In any case, the information still gets out, whether on social media or elsewhere.

The information gets around even in North Korea. That's not a reason to become one.

> If you are going for "unless The Pravda publishes it, it's all libelous lies and I'm not going to read it" - you are either grasping at straws or are willing to blind yourself for partisan reasons.

It's called vetting your sources. Also, funny you should mention Pravda, when Zero Hedge is actually pretty close to that caliber of publication from what I can tell.

> Just read the freaking emails

It's not about the e-mails, but the context around them. I can't trust a far-right rag that peddles conspiracy theories to provide analysis with any degree of nuance, and without omitting key facts. "Doing your own research" will more often than not just lead you into the dark, unless you have training and experience to select good sources, weed out BS and half-truths, and follow up on leads where necessary.

> Because you are going to ignore people who are actually willing to investigate things, and only believe "reputable" ones - i.e. ones who by definition are part of the system that implements the censorship

How are reputable investigative journalists "by definition" part of the system that implements censorship? There has been plenty of reputable investigative journalism of government wrongdoing over the past few years — even in the "MSM". Unless you believe that the government and media act as one giant, unanimous bloc? That's a bit crazy.

> There's no such thing as "gentleman's agreement" with the federal government that can destroy your business and your life.

Can you cite any examples of the government crushing a private company in recent times due to not acquiescing to their demands? Based on your tone, you seem to believe that the federal government is in a position to do something drastic like imprison a CEO or revoke a corporate charter when faced with resistance. I don't think that's remotely plausible, unless we're talking National Security Letters or something. (Which are a big issue, but not directly relevant here.)

Thanks for illustrating how the censorship reaches its goals. "Reputable" sites won't publish anything that the government disapproves because they have "gentleman's agreement" and you're not going to read sources they say are "right wing rags", because they are full of "conspiracy theories", as "reputable sources" tell you. So nobody needs 100% censorship - you'll censor yourself the rest of the way. Just trust the experts and be happy.

Zero Hedge is not a site I would be using to back my argument.

If you attack who said it instead of what is being said, it means you don't have an argument on substance, only ad hominem.

Do we still call it “speech” if it’s a threat for physical violence? This seems even more clear when an established past of threats being actualized exists.

Edit-Maybe I’ll make this personal. I’ve been a victim of both verbal and physical bullying. At some point words cross a boundary from speech to violence. You could even see this with the audio simulations used to simulate schizophrenia. I’d say speech crosses the boundary into violence when it hurts another person and cannot be “muted” by the other. Ie doxxing someone-once it’s on the internet it’s out there for all time. Etc.

Ok but where were the threat for physical violence here and why did they need to take away protections against illegal attacks in order to stop it?

>Endless reminder that having multiple layers of moderation protects free speech, it doesn't restrict it.

Cloudfalre claims to be an infrastructure company. Now we're somehow discussing "multiple layers of moderation". This was fast. No limiting principles in sight either.

> Cloudfalre claims to be an infrastructure company.

Very obviously Cloudflare is operating at a higher level of infrastructure than ISPs or the government.

If they actually believe that they are infrastructure that people have a human right to access and that is so fundamental to the Internet that they should be treated as level 0 infrastructure, then they should consider dissolving the company and forming a public org instead.

Otherwise, yes, of course Cloudflare should have stricter standards. Even under Net Neutrality (which I support) ISPs have more moderation power than the government does. Banks arguably have far too much moderation power (I do think people should have a right to banking access), but I don't know anyone who would argue that banks should have no moderation powers at all, it would make it impossible for them to prevent fraud or abuse if that was the case.

Cloudflare obviously should not have as strict moderation as a web forum, but this isn't a binary choice. The limiting principle here is having multiple layers of infrastructure. It's choosing not to have a single company in charge of DDOS protection for 20% of the web.

“ You do not want the government to be the sole arbitrator of what content should be online”

That’s exactly what I think should be the case. The US government is supposed to reflect the will of the people and having a representative democracy is a way to achieve that decentralization. If the power structures that arise from this model threaten this process then the first goal should be fixing it rather than introducing a new process where a smaller ideological group gets to harass those within companies into acquiescing to their moral guidelines.

“promptly and firmly by a justice system”

The Justice system is almost never prompt. Despite the fact that some laws have been broken, the police likely won’t take a situation seriously until _after_ there’s a dead body. They aren’t in the business of preventing people from getting killed. They’re in the business of putting the killers in jail.

So, yes, maybe a more ideal solution would be a dramatic reform to policing, but, if that’s not going to happen any time soon, what solutions are available?

> They aren’t in the business of preventing people from getting killed. They’re in the business of putting the killers in jail.

If this is true, explain police protection. Or restraining order.

In the US, a restraining order issued by a court is merely a suggestion; police can simply ignore it without consequence, even if there is a law on the books that requires police to enforce it.



You should look into the enforcement of restraining orders.

Because it is unacceptably lax to say the least. And way too many people have died because of it.

I said it is their job. I didn't say they do a good or a bad job.

The Supreme Court has ruled very explicitly that the policy *do not* have a duty to protect a citizen.

It is, very explicitly according to the SCOTUS, not actually their job.

Every CEO implicitly decides what is morally acceptable or not when they act. Additionally individual people and society as a whole judge those actions within their own frame of reference.

Laws aren't about what's moral or not.

> We can't have a society that requires CEO to decide who is morally acceptable and who is not.

> If law's have been broken we need law enforcement.

This argument, that if it's legal there's no problem is calling for an over-bearing authoritarian state that micro-manages every interaction of private individuals.

We do not want to give more power to the state, which is why there's a bunch of stuff that's legal but is really unpleasant, and why we use "beyond all reasonable doubt" in the criminal courts. For this to work we require citizens to take responsibility.

> This argument, that if it's legal there's no problem is calling for an over-bearing authoritarian state that micro-manages every interaction of private individuals.

Is it somehow better for unelected robber barons to micro-manage every interaction of private individuals?

If someone else is going to decide what ideas I'm allowed to hear I want to have a vote in who that person is. When CEOs make those choices for you voting with your wallet isn't going to cut it. At least with the state we have the ability to collectively decide what the limits of their power will be and hold them accountable when they overstep.

> Is it somehow better for unelected robber barons to micro-manage every interaction of private individuals?

They can't, because we have laws against monopolies.

> We can't have a society that requires CEO to decide who is morally acceptable and who is not.

Yes, we can. And we do. Even if the decision you would have the is “everything law enforcement doesn't act on is acceptable”.

They have been broken, by anonymous or nearly anonymous people, constantly, distributed throughout the world behind multiple proxies.

Sorry dude, we're not gonna wait 3 to 50 months for law enforcement to sort gradually through the trail of bodies.

Like oh I'm just doing crimes using your delivery service, I'm just doing crimes in your restaurant, I'm just doing crimes in your day care, and if you believe in free speech you have to let me keep doing the crimes it until you petition the US government to compose a task force

No. The argument is that there is very little evidence here that crimes were actually committed, rather they were allegedly just discussed. Cloudflare hasn’t brought any evidence to bear.

So what's the difference between Kiwifarms doxxing some poor soul and the New York Times or Washington Post doing the same to some other sucker? Why hasn't the NYT been taken down yet?

If the NYT ever launched a campaign or started targeting a people in a way that actually was the equivalent to Kiwi Farms, then in that scenario it absolutely should be taken offline.

But the short answer is that the NYT is not a dedicated doxing forum. It's made decisions I disagree with, but no, it's not even close to equivalent to Kiwi Farms.

There's an important US Supreme Court case from 1964 (NYT v. Sullivan) that indirectly addresses this, noting that defamation claims by public figures against a news publication are subject to a heightened standard (and, conversely, that defamation claims against non-public individuals are not). If the NYT engaged in defamatory activities against a general member of the public, that member of the public could sue and have the same chance, in principle, of winning against the NYT as it would against anyone else.

The odd part about this debate is that platform companies very, very often have contract provisions prohibiting dangerous and even merely objectionable activities that could harm the reputation of the platform (or damage it or its customers). Platform companies having the power to yank controversial content isn't new.

Their cover up of Stalins holocaust in Ukraine probably killed more people than there are transpeople in the US. Their support of the Iraq war caused an unknowable amount of damage.

From other peoples comments, the extreme emergency was a poorly made bomb joke.

Is this referring to the "slate star codex" incident a couple years back?

That and likely how Taylor Lorenz handled the Libs of Tik Tok unmasking.

”Unmasking” is merely code for “doxing someone we don’t like.” Someone’s full legal name is all you really need to look them up on people-finder websites, which IMO are the real problem and in urgent need of regulation.

There's a huge difference between pointing out someone's real name (especially if that person is a public figure of some sort) and organizing a full harassment campaign, complete with the address of them, their family, and their job. Even more so when you're maintaining a counter of how many of your targets have committed suicide.

There is no such counter on Kiwifarms - at most they’ve front paged claims (totally unsourced and totally unfounded) by Keffals and others that KF has caused three or more suicides.

A reminder, by the way, that Keffals has used her platform to promote the use of DIY HRT by minors. (https://t.co/4dnauozhuS) KF was the first to find evidence of Keffals flirting with underage trans children in her discord (known as her Femboy Ranch) and, despite my dislike of KF, her campaign seems mostly committed to memory holing these events.

What you've linked to is a DIY HRT guide sponsored by her. This is an essential resource for trans people in most of the world -- not all parts of the world are as progressive as the San Francisco Bay Area.

There's no mention of minors on that website. It's not reasonable to try and restrict this information from minors either.

edit: responding to post from deepdriver below: your first link is from a vicious transphobe who in the very first line misgenders trans women and girls, and the second post has blatant anti-Semitism in it within the first couple of sentences. Also, the packaging is pretty cringe, but saying that it is explicitly targeting kids is ridiculous -- I've seen plenty of adults with that aesthetic.

If you really care about unlicensed pharmacies on the internet, you would encourage easier access to HRT so that trans teens don't have to resort to this.

edit: responding to other post from Banana699 below: The thing that separates you and me is that the scientific evidence clearly indicates that gender dysphoria is real, and that social and medical transition is greatly helpful. My "ideology" is to follow the science, understanding that it has limitations but that it is the best known way to understand reality.

Huh? You know nothing of my views on HRT availability and created a massive straw man. Bobposting and Keffals both brag about how many young people they’ve gotten on HRT; this information is logged on Keffals’ thread and she started her rampage against KF when this archiving happened - well before any supposed bomb threat or harassment.

I have absolutely zero issues with trans people and support affirmation. I don’t like non-doctors/non-professionals, streamers who are essentially entertainers, telling kids how to medically change their body (without parental input) and then connecting them to sources that are of extremely dubious quality (bathtub HRT). I don’t think that’s a ridiculous stance.

I would have a much bigger problem with what Keffals was doing if it were possible to actually get HRT as a teenager in most of the world. The structural injustice is a million times more serious.

BTW, trans people used to be routinely tortured by the medical system not that long ago (and are still now in most of the world). At that time, what you derisively call "bathtub HRT" is how most trans people used to bypass the medical system. It isn't just out of nowhere, there is a long history of this. I've also seen people test the products of that pharmacy and say that it's medical-grade.

There are many archived Twitter posts where the owners of this site (Keffals and Chloe aka bobposting) brag about supplying minors with hormones behind parents’ backs, even sending these drugs to children directly which is highly illegal. The top “Homebrew” online pharmacy they link to sells cross-sex hormones in holofoil boxes clearly marketed to children, decorated with lolita anime art and “Keep Away from Parents” labels:


Hardly surprising given the sexualized Discord server called “Catboy Ranch” where Keffals, who is nearly 30, led many underage viewers down the path of medical gender transition. Some were as young as 13. Keffals sent them collars to show they were Keffals’ pets. Users engaged in sexual talk and discussed taking naked selfies. Ctrl+F “Catboy”):


I believe Kiwi Farms’ investigation of this activity, as well as Keffals’ failed career as a niche porn actress, are why Keffals seeks to get the site taken down. Of course, all this has been saved across multiple archive services and will never go away.

I think the issue was mainly that (from the viewpoint of those complaining) she harassed the LoTT’s family at their homes and then went live with the article before giving anyone connected to LoTT (including LoTT herself) sufficient time to address her questions and statements.

I have not done enough research to take a stance personally on what happened.

She published LoTT’s full legal name and enough of a description to positively locate her on Spokeo/White Pages/etc. That is a common cop-out for Twitter mobs; posting the ready-made parts for such a search but not the actual home address, so in the poster’s eyes it technically isn’t “doxing.”

Although this is an interesting argument, the issue in this context is that the US legal system, has yet to declare what it is that KF is doing to be illegal.

Maybe they would have lost in court. But as of yet, even though there has been multiple lawsuits against KFs, KF farms has won every thing lawsuit.

That is the issue you have to grapple with. That, for all known knowledge that we have, from the legal system, nobody has proven their actions to be illegal.

> nobody has proven their actions to be illegal

It's an excuse for Cloudflare to argue that its moderation decisions should be only based on legality, and that excuse shouldn't be accepted unquestionably.

I mention this in a few other places, but regardless of whether or not Kiwi Farms in specific should be illegal, there is a lot of other speech that is legal and ought to be legal that Cloudflare still shouldn't be platforming. It is a mistake to have all of all moderation decisions made by the government.

I mean, heck, automated requests and automated scraping are not illegal in the US, in fact they've been ruled legal even when that scraping was happening against the wishes of websites -- and I personally think that was a good decision. Where's the line between automated scraping and abuse? We're not sure, but Cloudflare doesn't wait for a court order before it stops what it deems to be malicious traffic, and it's not running around complaining that the government hasn't given it a precise definition of a DDoS attack.

Many things that can reasonably be characterized as direct attacks on people and public infrastructure are legal, and it's not clear to me at all that the correct response to that is to criminalize all of them. I personally think that Kiwi Farms crossed even a legal line (or at least what should be a legal line), but if people want to argue with me about that, fine. My position is not that Cloudflare should have dropped Kiwi Farms because it was illegal, they should have dropped it because it was suppressing their customers' speech with real-world threats and violence. The legality is kind of a separate discussion.

> It's an excuse for Cloudflare to argue that its moderation decisions should be only based on legality, and that excuse shouldn't be accepted unquestionably.

Yes it should be.

Society is based on rule of the law and corporations that are controlling our most critical communication infrastructure should solely concern themselves with what is legal. Not what is moral, not what they think is just or "offensive" or "hurtful".

I feel for the trans people who are targeted and wish them well but I absolutely don't want the Cloudflare's CEO making _any kind_ of judgment regarding the content I am allowed to read and share.

> My position is not that Cloudflare should have dropped Kiwi Farms because it was illegal, they should have dropped it because it was suppressing their customers' speech with real-world threats and violence.

Your position here is that the matter was so grave that people could be in absolute danger. Well, guess what? We already have laws protecting people from bodily harm and Cloudflare should have waited for the courts to decide, however you don't get to make a moral judgment here and deny ME, a citizen of the world, access to information unless our democratic society votes otherwise.

If you think this isn't how society should function, great, you can attempt to vote and change the laws.

By restricting speech and information, you are restricting and controlling human thought.

I will not allow it.

> If you think this isn't how society should function, great, you can attempt to vote and change the laws.

The laws allow Cloudflare to make this decision. Respectfully, I would offer you the same advice -- if you think that Cloudflare shouldn't be blocking openly abusive content, then pass a law banning Cloudflare from doing so. But I think you'll have a hard time getting that law to pass a 1st Amendment challenge. We barely got Net Neutrality to survive Supreme Court challenges and that depends on legally declaring the companies it affects to be common carriers, a classification that Cloudflare has not pursued for itself in any equivalent form.

> you don't get to make a moral judgment here and deny ME, a citizen of the world, access to information unless our democratic society votes otherwise.

I'll happily make that moral judgement as a free speech advocate. This has come up a couple of times already in these comments, but sites like Kiwi Farms are very direct chilling actors on free speech. They are pretty much the textbook definition of what "cancel culture" actually is and what it actually means beyond any freedom of association or freedom to criticize. They exist not to spread an ideology, but to bully people (often through real-world tactics and abuses of common infrastructure) into leaving the Internet.

People are very upset about the idea that by advocating for Cloudflare to remove Kiwi Farms, people like me are making decisions about what content you can access. They don't seem to be upset at Kiwi Farms for pushing for the same outcomes in much more egregious and openly anti-free-speech ways, and it just makes it really difficult for me to take this moralizing seriously. I'm supposed to be ashamed of contributing to a constitutionally protected process that used collective speech and freedom of association to get a private actor to make a legally protected decision about who they'll associate with. And I'm supposed to believe this is a greater threat to freedom of speech than doxing people, threatening their family members, or trying to convince employers that they're pedophiles.

I just don't buy it. I do in fact have a legal right to exercise my freedom of speech and freedom of association in regards to private actors, and I would argue I have a moral right to call out malicious actors that are doing direct harm to freedom of speech and a moral right to advocate for platform standards among private entities that cause speech to flourish rather than allowing a singular forum to use illegal tactics to make it physically dangerous for people to exist on the Internet. Getting rid of obviously malicious actors like Kiwi Farms is good for freedom of speech.

Furthermore, I don't buy the backwards logic that by arguing against expanded definitions of illegal speech and against expanded involvement of governments in censorship that I am somehow taking the pro-censorship position. But whatever, if you want to argue that Cloudflare is fundamental infrastructure to the point where it shouldn't be making private decisions or to the point that it should be treated like an ISP, then fine. That's a thing you can argue for. Get it classified as public infrastructure, we have a legislative process for doing that. Lobby the company to form a collective public organization with other CDN services that can make these moderation decisions. Both you and Cloudflare have options here if you both really believe the company is too important to make private decisions.


Cloudflare isn't an ISP (although note that even under most definitions of Net Neutrality an ISP could arguably have still legally banned Kiwi Farms). Cloudflare argues that its infrastructure should be treated as the same level of critical importance as an ISP, and it argues that its importance demands neutrality about even websites that are dedicated to promoting illegal behavior. Cloudflare argues that blocking even just straightforwardly malicious actors on its network should be subject to a legal process.

But I think that's a very selective claim. It's a claim that Cloudflare only seems to make when it comes to these controversies, and not a claim that seems to inform any other part of its decision-making process or business structure. Let me know when Cloudflare starts operating as a publicly owned entity, or demanding court orders before it blocks DDoS attacks, or demanding strict legal definitions of malicious traffic, and then we'll talk about whether they really believe that they're fundamental critical communication infrastructure and whether they really believe that they need a government to tell them to remove obviously malicious actors from the network.

In the meanwhile, forgive me for being skeptical about Cloudflare's claim that its moderation decisions should all just be proxies for court rulings. Let me know when Cloudflare actually subjects itself to any kind of binding restrictions or any kind of public democratic accountability for its moderation decisions, rather than just using this excuse conditionally to avoid responsibility or criticism.

Most of the posters on the site might do nothing illegal, but one or two did make actual threats that crossed the line into criminal conduct. Even if the posts were immediately deleted by moderators, people still took screenshots.

So if I threatened you right here in this post, and someone screencapped it before a moderator deleted it, then HN has no right to exist? Or does there need to be another person or two also threatening you? Just the fact that it happened, regardless of it being against the site's TOS and taken down by site admins, means that the site is now complicit and loses any right or privilege to protection?

Kiwifarms also serves a weird specific role. Many of the people people discussed there do propagate harmful things. Like normalizing cutting, starving, violence and much more.

There is no control instance for things like this. Normalizing harmful things ok YouTube in front of children is not cool, we all know YouTube barely cares either.

For a concrete example look into Chris Chan and how Kiwifarms was literally the only instance out there protecting Chris from way more evil groups.

My point is even if Kiwifarms is a hateful environment, I think they serve a purpose in our society.

Where are these so-called threats of physical harm and real-world harassment? People keep saying this but never even attempt to back it up with anything more than the allegation.

Right and the only ones that should be able to ruthlessly defame anyone is the New York Times, MSNBC and Fox News.

The ramifications of this are dire. This is about a power grab of total control of what we say online.

We already saw the abuse of what a small cabal of insiders can determine is real: they determined that the Hunter Biden laptop was fake when in reality that was a political position that was wrong.

The "lets protect the trans" is just a trojan horse to take down disfavorable political speech everywhere.

> doxing

Doxxing isn't illegal.

> harassing people with threats of violence

How do you know that A: the person whose name I won't say isn't lying, because that person's a professional victim. And B: if that person isn't lying, that those threats came from Kiwi Farms users.

The hate and doxxing is generally from the trans activists to the women who are resisting losing their sex-segregated spaces. Women are being called TERFs and beaten at women's events and pride parades for female activism. Calling lesbianism female, etc.

The problem with censorship is that as soon as it happens there's nothing to argue against the lies with. Now that KF is gone people come out of the woodwork who would have maintained some control if it still existed and had their receipts.

the modern western liberal view is to protect all basic freedoms (of speech;of privacy; of representation; of free trade; of presumption of innocence) as long as they belong to the 'correct people'; as for the ideological enemies no right is needed and no tactic used to curtail those same rights is deemed too low or too hypocritical

Free speech isn't speech without consequences. All that the first amendment protects is government making laws restricting free speech, but if you're a customer and you're doing shit that I don't agree with, I have every right to boot you from my platform. I don't have to stand idly by and not take action.

The 1st Amendment and Freedom of Speech aren't the same thing. Freedom of Speech is a philosophical concept and is, in fact, "freedom from consequences."

There is consequences to everything. It’s the philosophical right to talk. Not the right to an audience or the right that people won’t be mad at you for disagreeing.

If I call your fiance ugly you may not invite me to your wedding even though I have freedom of speech. If I tell the waiter they’re ugly, they may not serve me food even though I have the freedom of speech. Everything has consequences.

What if you criticize Amazon? Should you be banned from using all their services? What if you criticize private enterprise in general? Banned from everything except services provided by the state then? Your interpersonal examples where both people/groups have very little and similar amounts of power. 'Consequences' to speech become dangerous when corporations or even larger groups of people get involved.

What if you threaten the life of Jeff Bezos or Amazon employees online?

This argument is so contrived, it's cringe.

You have somehow made a logical equivalence of some benign speech like "criticize private enterprise in general" and then projected that on "every company in the world bans you".

(1) There is always some company willing to sell a product/service for the right price. Even to genocidal maniacs, and especially to everyone who is more socially acceptable.

(2) Every competing company smaller than Amazon wants to steal Amazon's business. If you are banned by the big company, they are likely to want your business. They may use their compassion and willingness to be criticized / reverence for "unlimited freedom of speech" as a competitive advantage.

(3) Every "undesirable" company eventually finds suitable replacements for their vendors. DailyStormer, Parler, 8Chan, InfoWars. They are all still on the internet.

There are legitimate concerns when there is a monopoly / small oligopoly in an industry with no substitutes. And there are legal concerns when governments sanction people/organizations without due process. But your comment wasn't useful to any informed discussion of these topics.

Freedom of speech has never meant freedom from consequences. Obviously speech can have all sorts of different consequences (both positive and negative) at all kinds of layers of society.

By that definition Freedom of Speech is a ridiculous idea.

Are you saying I should be able to spend my entire day advocating for your rights to be removed, insulting you or whatever else and you still need to treat me like any other person and can't get annoyed at me?

Or the opposite, if someone treats me really well I can't be friends with them because that would be a positive consequence of their speech?

We all need to act like emotionless machines that completely ignore all speech so that free speech can exist?

but "giving the individual the choice to listen to whatever influence they wish" means that when somebody uses the threat of physical violence to silence one of those influences, anybody who stands up for free speech must push back against that. everybody deserves to have their say, except those who would seek to silence others.

defending the silencers is incompatible with free speech.

Free speech is not completely unfettered. Under Brandenburg v. Ohio, speech that incites imminent lawless action - and that would likely cause such action - can be punished under the law.

In all likelihood this appears to be what is happening with kiwi farms. Of course, the issue is that Cloudflare can’t undertake legal enforcement, but they have a terms of use and so contractually are duly within their rights to end service to kiwifarms.

Don't forget the ending: Brandenburg's incitements to non-imminent violence were upheld as legal. And the person recording/distributing the incitements (the cincinnati reporters [ i.e. Kiwifarms in this case]) was not charged at all.

It sounds like Kiwifarms is inciting imminent violence that will likely occur.

Are you sure the incitement that provoked this response wasn't someone illegally (and against ToS) using the services of Kiwifarms, rather than the owners and operator of kiwifarms? It's my understanding Kiwifarms removed the Belfast post quite quickly. Indeed imgur is still hosting the image of the post, shall imgur also be charged?

Posting someone's address can obviously facilitate a swatting. In some cases, it might even make someone an accomplice to one. But just recklessly posting someone's address doesn't make one an accomplice.

There's no implied request for someone to SWAT or even harass the person. I get that this provides no comfort to the victims, but this isn't Brandenburg incitement.

Free speech doesn't mean not being held reponsible for what is said.

This ideological purism doesn't grapple with real world corner cases where one person's freedoms infringe on another person's freedoms.

But it doesn’t extend to advocating for violence. We can rightly enact limits on inciting violence.

> Free speech is about giving people the freedom to say things I find disgusting.

Yes, but it is not only that. It is also being part of an relgious, cultural or otherwise marginalized group and not having to fear for your life because you have been a little too vocal.

The truth is that freedom of speech (like most other freedoms) must comstantly be balanced between the different actors. E.g. in 1930s Germany the members of the nationalist socialist party of Germany have been quite free to utter their disgusting voices while as a jewish citizen you would have had a hard time if you did so. And the reason for this was that the speech of the Nazis ended up being more than just opinions, but threats. And those threats turned into violence and genocide.

Today, we are again at a point where speech turns into threats turns into violence. Karl Popper's paradoxon of intolerance and all that. Any free society has to be intolerant towards the intolerant, otherwise you cease to be a free society at one point or another. Because the intolarent will not fight for free speech once they are in power, they will abolish it for everybody but themselves. The actual Nazis back then were quite happy painting themselves as victims only to later remove the very rights they claimed.

Once people get beaten, lynched and killed by fascist mobs and loose their rights to bodily autonomy discussing freedom of speech seems naive. People who have to fear violence and incarceration cannot speak freely. And if you look at the statistics for right wing violence the point I raise here is anything but academic.

Update, as I read more on the topic: In the case of KiwiFarms this is not even close to being about free speech. On that platform coordinated attacks on specific people have been planned, driving a few into suicide.

To all those downvoting: How would you think if the target of these attack was your mother, sister, daughter? Should there be a legal way to make them stop? Or should it just be legal to coordinate harassing and threaten people whose appearance, opinion, political opinion, sexual preferences, etc you don't like?

And before someone comes with the slippery slope argument: I live in Germany, we have certain Nazi symbols banned for decades here and it hasn't harmed the discourse one bit. You just can't walk around and go like "Heil Hitler" in public without having to fear some sort of retaliation. You can still talk about Nazis, you can learn about them, you can still be a Nazi. But if there was a slippery slope, why didn't it slip – for decades?

Btw.: Most Europeans would regard the censorship of female nipples, swear words and anything remotely sexual like it is so commonplace in the US as an impediment on free speech. But if it is ingrained in the prude traditionalism, it is suddenly okay censorship, right?

Downvotes, but no arguments? What has this site become? I might be getting something wrong here, so please explain it to me, instead of just downvoting.

Why should I take this argument on good faith when literally this same argument has been repeatedly used in attempts to deplatform comedians, popular politicians, writers, journalists and tons of ordinary people?

Were said comedians, popular politicians, writers, and journalist calling for immediate violent acts and intimidation of others.

If yes, then I believe they should be censored.

If no, , then they should not.

Authoritarians will use both arguments at the same time, they have no problem with hypocrisy. They will threaten you with violence, and demand their violence be published, while with the slights of those they do not like demand censorship.

Calls for violence must not be tolerated, for if they are civil society cannot exist.

You mean practicing and protecting it?

What harassment campaigns? Talking about someone and pointing out what publicly say is not harassment.

"free speech is certain types of people not having anything they don't like spoken anywhere"

> what kiwifarms has been doing to "free speech"

What? Testing it? To make sure we can actually exercise it in practice? Because "be careful how you use it or you might ruin it for everyone" wasn't ever how the 1st amendment was meant to work. Like, what would be the point. Let's let the 1st amendment say you have to check in with anyone sensitive and if they don't like it, you can't say it, because "we live in a society" Let's have a new Mandatory Courtesy and Respect amendment.

I am so utterly ashamed of the tech industry at this point. I'm glad I retired and don't have to pretend to your faces.

"The Internet interpretes censorship as damage and routes around it." Oh how naive and libertarian us techies were in the reactionary nineteen hundred and nineties.

private companies have no obligation under the 1st amendment. violence and hatred have no place in this world or on the internet.

i'm ashamed of all the people who stand up and defend nazis, fascists, and cyber-bullying and doxxing. this isn't about sensitivity it's about vile human actions, and viewpoints like yours are what allowed for fascism to spread in europe, asia, and america.

Tell it to somebody who's already subscribed to that whole delusional ideology. Such as every other user in this thread.

Free speech is free speech, and it includes speech that you and others will find hateful, cruel, and disgusting. Doesn't stop it from being protected by free speech laws. Would you say trans people have been hurting the free speech of people on Twitter by reporting them and harassing them en masse for speaking against them and refusing to follow their demands of tolerance?

yeah a "my speech is better than yours" situation

I am not aware of what Kiwifarms have done, but I am aware of what is often said when people claim harrasment of trans people. And that would not be considered harrasment in any other context.

So maybe this is the case that has finally gotten too far, but when you have been crying wolf as many times as the trans movement has, well I am not going to care.

It’s like the US military explaining their actions during the Vietnam War - “we needed to destroy the city in order to save it”

> if you really believe in free speech, you understand that trans people deserve free speech too, and kiwifarms harrasment campaigns have been harming their free speech. free speech is for everybody,

As far as I know you have many pro-trans channels to communicate online, and it's very natural that you find the opposite as well on the internet. I love the fact that you guys never complain about anticlerical content that's rampant in the most popular platforms. It's almost like you only dislike one type of discrimination.

TDLR: "Free Speech only for the Speech I like"

Please point me to co-ordinated mass harassment campaigns with the objective of leading clerics to suicide, and you might change my mind. Otherwise your comparison is absurd.

If you believe that words are violence then it cuts both ways whether you are trans or just another group that is discriminated against online. Since when is suicide the only endpoint to look at? Shifting goalposts much?

Not to suicide then, point me to a website created for the purpose of coordinating sustained harassment campaigns towards clerics please.

Not 100% exactly the same, but wth do you think this is:



But it's okay, they're supposedly "Nazis", so it's okay to punch that way and coordinate harassment, deplatforming and marginalization. I see at least two people on that list that are ridiculously benign, just hold "bad" opinions. One of them is so obviously a hit-job, it's sad.

Or how about articles detailing how "favored" groups like Antifa coordinate, glorifying their doxxing and very potential real harmful consequences for the people they target (who may or may not be innocent). This is targeted at much less high-profile individuals as opposed to the SPLC one above.


I honestly have no idea how people can be okay with this kind of behavior (the above is just the tip of the iceberg, as I don't have the resources and institutional backing like the SPLC to document, record and collate the hate and filter the best examples for you. Honestly, couldn't find half the stuff without resorting to site-searching Gab for references to articles. Google.)

Future generations will frown upon us for this dark part of our history.

Freedom of speech isn't about speech. It's about hearing. There are people who want to read or listen to what others have to say, and often for reasons besides agreement with the author's statements. By silencing someone, you are preventing others from reading what they want to read or hearing what they want to hear. I certainly don't agree with the posts and comments on kiwifarms, but I want to understand what they believe and why. Also, there is a diamond in that dung heap of a website. Kiwifarms users archive tons of stuff, and those archives are very valuable.

Moreover, I cannot help but notice the double standard you've created. You still provide services to godhatesfags.com. Hell, cloudflare provides DDoS protection for ISIS content. How can you say that kiwifarms is too dangerous when you're ensuring that copies of Inspire and Dabiq are available for extremists to read? If you want to talk about dangerous content, go after the people who claim that they want to murder innocent people and have done so many times in the past.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inspire_(magazine)

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dabiq_(magazine)

providing hateful content spreads hate. clinging to some idea that absolute freedom of speech allows us to be moral and just is quite frankly bs when the spread of fascist / terrorist / homophobic / racist propaganda contributes to the destruction of democracy and the very freedoms we hold dear

> providing hateful content spreads hate.

You talk as if hate is a kind of mind-virus which must be defeated with quarantine.

For one thing, this is illiberal. You're not respecting people as your equals if you want to stop hatred by preventing them from reading things that can make them hate.

But more importantly, if it's that way, we have lost already. The tools you want to fight these evils with, work just as well in the enemy's hands, if not better.

We need a way to fight propaganda which works better for us than for them.

> But more importantly, if it's that way, we have lost already.

Absolutely. If the status quo sees ideas as a risk to reduce, clearly it's fragile.

OK, apply that logic to the Bible and the Qur'an. Both endorse slavery. Both encourage believers to hate gays and to treat women as chattel. Countless followers have dedicated their lives to the tenets in these books, and in many cases they end up harming others because of it. Are you going to ban those books? If not, why not?

Because most people follow a neutered form of religion that isn't an acute or extreme threat to democracy and freedom. It is a diffuse threat to some freedoms for sure. But it doesn't compare to actual ISIS or fascist propaganda. There is no way to categorically separate these things. It's about matters of degree and pragmatically deciding to draw a line somewhere, instead of being ideologically pure and pretending that the best thing to do is draw no line.

You do know we have documented proof that broadcasting hate speech tends to cause people get violent, right? Should we allow free radio of a thousand hills [0] to broadcast?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Télévision_Libre_des_Mil...

> Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

> That’s a failure of the rule of law on two dimensions: we shouldn’t be the ones making that call, and no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat.

This is the logic of vigilantes. I'm not saying what you have done is on the same level as vigilante murder or anything, but don't try to justify it as something high-and-mighty. You've once again terminated a customer on a whim. And that's your right, but stop trying to make this out to be anything more than that.

KF can (and does) say whatever they want. That does not give its users the right to doxx an individual or threaten them or otherwise illegally harass them via extra-judicial measures. It’s that simple.

It’s also in Cloudflare’s very own terms of service that KF agreed to when they signed up

Is there doxxing and threats actually carried out on KF that are not suppressed by the moderators? I've read some of the lolcow threads and have never seen serious threats or serious doxx material like addresses. I'm not saying it doesn't happen because I have not read a lot of KF content but I think people need to provide supporting evidence for these claims. My suspicion is a lot of the bad stuff is not organized directly on KF but rather secret discord/telegram groups.

There also seems to be a double standard where dropkiwifarms.net has a link to a google drive that seems to be somewhat similar to the content that might appear on a lolcow thread and could be interpreted as 'doxxing'. For example it has a copy of Joshua Moon's resume and a legal document showing his name change.


Are you sure "doxxing" is illegal in all US jurisdictions, as well as the jurisdiction it is hosted in? If it's for the purpose of harassments it may be illegal. Remember California DOJ released (doxxed) online the name and address of all California CCW holders, including judges and other sensitive holders (DV victims, etc). At least California seems to think it's peachy.

It’s illegal in California, where they’re headquartered. In their version of the law, intent matters:

“…You intended to cause that person to reasonably fear for their or their family’s safety.” [1]

Regardless, federally in the US, doxxing can be considered a form of harassment, which is generally illegal.

[1] https://www.aerlawgroup.com/blog/fact-or-fiction-doxing-some...

But if you have no intent to harass it would be legal then no? I mean California released names and address of judge and DV victims and other people who don't want abusers to find them from the CCW registry so they must not consider it harassments just to release the information. Those people definitely had no idea it was going to be released online, and I imagine some of the judges probably have tried very hard not to have an internet presence. They (the person who had their identification released) may have considered it harassment but without proving the DOJ "intended" to harrass...

I would argue California DoJ set the example that even releasing personal information in what appears as retaliation to an event seems to be lawful in their eyes. When California DoJ started doxxing they did it right after Bruen Supreme Court case was released.... but hey I can't prove their intent.

We've come to a place where apparently not hosting a forum with the purpose to make life hell for people they don't like (including through illegal means) is vigilantism.

That's not what "vigilante" means.

A business terminating their relationship with a problematic customer is not "vigilantism".

Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

Post the screenshot then. Show us what changed between when CF said "KF is acting within the bounds of the law and will remain online" and today.

Refusing service to customers you find contemptible is completely reasonable. Continuing to service customers out of a sense of fairness even though you find them contemptible is also reasonable. Pretending that you have a sense of fairness that keeps all legal entities online and abandoning it to protect your bottom line is hypocritical and cowardly.

Being a company that protects the vulnerable is every bit as honorable as being a company that stands for freedom of expression. Today Cloudflare proves it is neither.

If you go on Twitter, 90% of the replies aren't happy with Cloudflare's action. They want Cloudflare to do more and blaming CEO for why it took so long.


Just shows how the activists are hammering Cloudflare CEO into submission. These people want complete abandonment of Freedom of Speech/Expression despite of what CEO is saying in this thread that it isn't about FoS/FoE.

I am just terrified of what holds for our future. We used to celebrate speech as progressives back in the 90's and used to defend it with fierce opposition to any supression. They say, freedom and liberty are one generation away, if the newer generation wants CCP-style authoritarianism, they will get it.

Maybe centralizing a measurable percentage of the internet onto a single provider to the point they are frequently in this situation wasn't a great idea.

Consider this next time you consider Cloudflare. Not because of what decision they made, but because they are trying to make themselves the pipe that connects any two points on the internet.

I dearly wish there was public-sector internet that was governed by the same rules as the post office. Stay within the law and nothing happens to you, violate the law and get arrested.

We have something even better than that! The Internet is decentralised, no matter how much CF tries to pretend it isn't. Just choose not to use services like CF.

Conveniently ignoring the fact that KF did violate the law, mainly through harassment. Of course the law couldn't give two shits protecting random citizens from (so-called) "non-violent", non-property crime.

KF is a shitty place full of shitty people and its members almost certainly violated the law. But they didn't do it on Kiwi Farms. You can't harass somebody by posting comments on your own website. If "conspiracy to harass" is a crime you could commit that, but I've read page after page without seeing that and I haven't seen any screenshots of it that weren't reported and removed either.

You think that would be a viable option? One half of the country thinks that we don't need to hand over internet in the hands of Gov. The other half wants to abolish SCOTUS. But in spirit, if it works well like the post office, I am onboard with that idea. The other idea would be to pass laws that make what Cloudflare is doing illegal.

> we don't need to hand over the internet in the hands of Gov.

I don't know what you're trying to say.

> The other half want to abolish SCOTUS

Sorry, who are these people? I don't know any.

The internet is global, some individual countries might have faults with their government, but the idea as a whole could be viable. It would need to be managed by a supranational, non-partisan, multipolar entity.

Oh god, I hope you don't mean WEF kind of an entity.

On other note, I expect ICANN to become political in a few years, observing the way our institutions are failing, both domestic and international.

In fact freedom of expression is central to protecting the vulnerable. Civil rights were enabled by free speech.

Yes, the vulnerable here being, of course, the people who expressed non-cis gender identity online and were harassed and bullied into shutting up or (preferably) killing themselves, not the forum orchestrating these hunts.

Yes the point being this precedent can be used to hurt minority groups in the future even if it's for the sake of helping a minority group right now

Only if Matthew Prince decides to do that. Plenty of people published Malcom X speeches and not KKK speeches.

> Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

Does Cloudflare wait for a court order before taking action when it detects a DDoS attack or when it suspects that a client is malicious?

The law is by design reactionary. In this case, I don't mean that in a bad way; what I mean is that the law is designed to respond to criminals, not to preempt them. If all of your moderation decisions, even in cases that go beyond hate speech or bigoted content into straight-up abuse of infrastructure and direct targeting of individuals -- if you need that to be reliant on a court then you are giving up the ability to prevent abuse and you can only respond to that abuse.

Do you worry about due process when someone's site is getting knocked offline by automated requests, or is your primary worry about protecting your customers?

What's even worse is that by abjugating your responsibility to protect your customers even in cases where there are clear threats, and by encouraging the law to become even faster and more trigger-happy to compensate, you encourage the creation of censorship engines that are even more dangerous than the ones that you are in charge of. We should have better laws around doxing and threatening people online, but even once we get better laws, Cloudflare is still going to have a part to play in detecting targeted attacks. No just law is going to be fast enough or nuanced enough to make these decisions for you.

You can't get rid of your responsibility to such a degree that you won't need to make moderation decisions even about non-ideological and purely abusive content like doxing forums. And by refusing to recognize your role in that process, you allow people to be completely driven offline and censored in the exact same ways that your company is dedicated to preventing. It's no different than allowing a DDoS attack on one of your clients to continue because you haven't specifically heard from a judge yet that you should stop it.

It’s nonsense this has anything to do with the law.

This solely happened because of mainstream media pressure and significant clients moving or threatening to move away from Cloudflare and the board deciding they don’t need the bad press and loss of customers and nothing else.

You provide a service and like every service provider you have a TOS/AUP. The issue is the Acceptable Use Paragraph is clear as long as the content isn’t Copyright or CSE then it’s fine as you will absolve yourself of any responsibility.

No other CDN/WAF tolerates nationalists who threaten people, Cloudflare does. No other CDN/WAF makes the reporting process essentially doxing yourself to the threatening website. Cloudflare does. No other CDN/WAF intentionally puts all the most vile sites on dedicated CDN hosts so they get DDoSed while the normal customers don’t.

It’s purely so then when the vile sites get DDoSes then they use those learnings to improve the controls for all customers.

Much like providing security guards for a Proud Boys rally. It’s an intentional business decision to provide those services. You could chose not to. But you don’t.

>It’s nonsense this has anything to do with the law.

>This solely happened because of mainstream media pressure and significant clients moving or threatening to move away from Cloudflare and the board deciding they don’t need the bad press and loss of customers and nothing else.


I didn't know KiwiFarms existed before it was in the news and trending everywhere, so I don't know a lot about what really went on there in the past years. What concerns me more general with this situation. There is a lot of power in the hands of people able to rile up the mob to de-platform whoever the current very-bad-person of the day is. With the outrage on social media platforms, and then the media pressure from those reporting on the outrage, companies just do the safe, self-interested thing and acquiesce, branding it as some noble act.

It's wrong that whether someone can have a platform, or use a service, or hold a job, is determined not by some kind of objective TOS, but rather whether or not an online mob is demanding their scalp. It's arbitrary, unjust, and has and will harm harmless people.

You don't know about KF because you're not being targeted by them. That site's purpose is to harass people off of the internet, and potentially to the point of them killing themselves. It's the ultimate form of a de-platformer.

So, in this case, you're worried about vigilante mobs deplatforming a platform, and the slippery slope involved, but the folks being deplatformed are a worse form of what you're arguing against.

It's hard to understand what you're standing up for here, because there's no way to argue for the existence of this site without contradicting yourself, and negating your own argument.

> It’s nonsense this has anything to do with the law.

Actually, if they processed data from any European person they would be required to follow GDPR. And if they processed data from any Brazilian they would be required to follow LGPD.

Any significant deliberate blindness towards privacy, defamation, and hate speech laws are unlawful acts that must be punished according to the Law. Idealy by extraditing the website administrators so they can they can face criminal charges over their misconduct.

I disagree somewhat. rule of law' sounds like such a neat, objective solution to social problems, but in practice it centralizes a vast amount of decision-making in organs of state (courts and to a lesser extent, public prosecutors.

This in turn drastically shapes incentives, because of the cost of litigation and highly variable access to legal infrastructure: as we all know, police have no formal duty to protect despite having vast levels of legal immunity from consequences when they make bad decisions.

Hence the pressure campaign on your firm, because exerting leverage through market forces and PR strategies is simply more effective than begging some state authority to intervene. Of course, it hurts you somewhat insofar as it's harder for you to sell a service to anyone and everyone when people see that you're willing to revoke access in some cases. but then you were willing to do that already, eg to pre-empt perceived legal risks from FOSTA/SESTA.

I think sites like Kiwifarms have a right to exist, but on the other hand they don't have any particular right to DDOS protection. If a site is so chronically unpopular that it's constantly getting kicked out of nice infrastructure perhaps the operators need to reconsider their security stance or reflect on the basis of said unpopularity.

Of course, DDOS attacks can be engineered rather than being an expression of organic network sentiment, but then so can mitigation strategies.

Tell me then - why does Cloudflare still offer its services to drug dealers? To sites run by terrorist groups like ISIS? To outright criminal scamming operations?

I have no faith in your principles. From my perspective, the only principle you have is your share price. That's fine, of course. I don't expect you to stick your neck out or risk your business. But don't pretend like this is some principled stand.

Seconded. People go to the TOS, arguing about what constitute hosting etc.

I don't believe in cloudflare principles either. Seems like they only grew "responsible" when it attracted negative public attention in the last days/weeks.

this looks like PR, damage/image control to me.

we do not have a good solution for partial censorship on the internet right now (always the same issues, who can decide to take out a website who implement it, due process, vpn moderation etc)

for me, having principles regarding content removal at this point is pretty much black and white, either you are totally against censorship (without due process), or you are ok with it.

Cloudflare actions denote they don't hold any of the principles above even if they know all about the selective content removal complexities.

P.S: Interrestingly, the Department of Homeland Security seems to be able to seize various domains quite easily.

Do you think their stocks would drop in value if they removed drug dealers and other illegal ventures?

Heh, you don’t get 20% of the internet without that content, so…

Forgive me if my understanding is wrong, but if someone were to host a message board or similar site with UGC and have it backed by Cloudflare, and a troll makes posts and threads threatening disasters on multiple occasions even though the site's administration removes them with haste, would Cloudflare also deny service to them? Basically take the current situation but instead of Kiwi Farms, replace it with "Grandma's Cat Forum".

This is exactly the determination. The post being spread around as evidence of harm was by a user with four posts, all within the last week, all on this thread, despite being a member for two years.

If I were trying to get a website deplatformed at least the approach is clear and easy.

It is far more than just a few posts. It goes far beyond speech online.

The entire history/founding of KF is predicated around violence perpetrated against trans people.

They actively stock, harass, and cause harm IRL. Even far-right anti-trans people like MTG allege they were behind the SWATs against her - and that is not the first accusation.

This has resulted in deaths.

They recently followed a women into a different country, after they chased her from their home.

They tracker her down and someone posted a photo outside of her new residence.

like a cartel hostage sign. A not so implicit threat that they can find you no matter where you hide and are an IRL person is literally a hundred feet away.

https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/15658039736716369... https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-trolls-cheer-trans-woman...

The distinction the parent post making is that, it was an agent provocateur who intentionally did things that would have crossed the line into actionable threats of harm. If that's true, it would seem to be an effective way of silencing people.

This also is how authoritarian governments create cause to neutralize groups.

Looking through that lens there are/were far more than one agent provocateurs. and in that case what's the difference.

Where can I find these posts?

You can’t. For your protection we have censored the proof that justifies why we were right to censor it…

... but your callous demand has been noted. We're watching you.

You can search their profile on kiwifarms dot ru to get all information you want.

Whose profile?

By "this thread", do you mean HN, or Kiwi Farms?

You're not a law enforcement organization. You don't have the ability to investigate and determine whether or not the threat is genuine or if it's an agent provocateur.

Banning them creates a hazard, since now to get an opponent banned from the service, they can create content that reaches to this level.

It's a Layer 8 DDOS.

What I don't get is how online forums with free registration have been a thing for WELL over 30 years now, yet some people think that the possibility that people make accounts to deliberately post things to get the forum sanctioned is still viewed as some insane conspiracy theory - and you a monster, if you suggest the good guys would ever do such a thing "to themselves".

You are in a thread where most folks are celebrating convincing a fire dept to stop protecting a house (while holding matches behind their back).

Everyone knows what you are saying is possible but nooone will admit it.

Ok, can we know what was this great threat then that suddenly made you change your position in just a few days?

Furthermore, do you believe that someone who is issuing a threat on a public platform is going to not act it out because you took it away? If anything it just sounds like it would make them even more incensed to do it, just makes absolutely no sense to frame it as some immediacy issue.

At least one accessory to attempted murder, at least:


As I asked previously, there is any indication of kiwifarms involvement? there's nothing in that link pointing to it, aside from someone calling in to say they are a specific user in the forum, which lets be honest here it's madness to think is relevant.

I looked into KF as this was all breaking last week. I don’t have any links as they’re no longer accessible, so take what I say as you will.

When I went on, on the forum’s official home page put front and center there was a link to a post written by an admin/moderator (which was also pinned by moderators) doxxing some trans woman with her address and last known location and the need to bring her to “justice”, whatever that meant.

Frankly it was appalling and I felt like from that one post alone (there were hundreds of posts) I had seen enough

I mean, surely those things would be archived no?

Trying to make sense of this whole thing just makes me feel like i'm going mad, everyone supposedly knows that is common sense that they are guilty of several swattings, harassment, etc, but not a single person can show anything even close to resembling action, or even non-absurd obvious joke threats, while the archives do show rules against it(for whatever that's worth) and reportedly even by the detractors those threats had been deleted. How can something gain this much notoriety, show up in so many articles being blamed for those things and not a single source can give something backing it up that isn't wild speculation?

Sure they doxed people but I can think off the top of my head half a dozen other places that do that quite regularly, couple that are dedicated to it.

Maybe I should just stop trying to make sense of it at this point and go to bed.

The same thing happened with 8chan, and has certainly happened with other sites/organizations/etc. It's easy to run a smear campaign against a group that "everyone knows" is evil, no need to even provide evidence.

You could have seen the evidence if you had started caring when they were harassing trans people.

> Sure they doxed people but I can think off the top of my head half a dozen other places that do that quite regularly, couple that are dedicated to it.

So you know where crimes are currently being committed? Have you reported them to the authorities?

That happened before they made the original response, though. It's definitely not that.

Yes, as noted in the post if you read to the end, I am very concerned about that.

So all it takes is for a malicious actor to engage in false flag operations against me and CF will completely walk back their abuse policies and terminate my services, even if I act the best I can to moderate and remove the offending content? I'm not saying what happened on Kiwi Farms was a false flag because I don't know that, but neither do you. It's hard to process just how antithetical your actions today are compared to your words 3 days ago.

Even if it wasn't a false flag, moderators deleted the offending posts.

Excellent; since you're concerned about it, it should be quite easy to provide that evidence, right? Personally, I would settle for quotes with private information redacted (usually I'd ask for archive.org copies or such, but in the case of doxxing I agree that's not ideal).

> it should be quite easy to provide that evidence, right?

No. The post alludes to active investigations concerning, among other things, bomb threats. One doesn’t air evidence in that situation.

Hmm... Why not, exactly?

If I'm investigating you over a bomb threat I'm not going to tell you beforehand so you erase any evidence.

People have already found and reposted the bomb threat posts, so that argument makes zero sense.

Why national security of course.

That's fair, actually; if that is the case then I very much hope to see a post in the near future explaining what happened as soon as it's no longer an active matter for the police.

So, can we get any details on what was actually said on the forum rather than just "escalating threats"?

From what I heard there was a false flag bomb threat

For reference sake, here’s the post:

> Just rang up a couple of lads down in Belfast and asked them to plant bombs in all of those places. also, 3 armed men will be at each place, waiting.

Seems to have been moderated/scrubbed from the keffals thread but I do see replies referencing it.

The post was screenshotted and posted to Twitter almost instantly and it seems that the post itself was quickly moderated and the user banned.

Seems like a straw that broke the camel’s back situation, but it’s very odd how CloudFlare is talking about “moderation” when it seems as though KiwiFarms quickly took care of moderating it themselves.

And fwiw, I had no idea what KiwiFarms was before this week.

If true, an ingenious way to de-cloudflare someone, which will be used many times again.

It has to be done in conjunction with protests by a politically protected group

Whatever do you mean, an imminent threat to life is an imminent threat to life. Say, does Hacker News use Cloudflare?

I wouldn't give the trolls trading screenshots too much credit here. I assume Cloudflare is a little more savvy than that.

I don't.

Nothing new for KF. What is new is the attention is now on Cloudflare

I know you are concerned, or at least that you wrote that you were concerned, but given that it is a real concern why do it then, what do you accomplish? whatever threat that was supposedly being organized will still come to fruition, no?

"the threat"

Ever think the feds have half a brain among them, and know there's no threat?

I know how gullible people are in these culture-warish times, but I still hope you've lost credibility with some significant fraction of us. Maybe those of us old enough to remember when the average techy was libertarian and opposed censorship. The Farms is right back up, by the way. But at least now you can wash your hands of it. Don't think Twitter will stop coming at you though. You need to understand those people want to punish and teach.

Kiwifarms should have been dealt with by the traditional legal system years ago. It is honestly shocking to me that the operator has never been charged. The site has been engaging in mass harassment for years and is responsible for multiple suicides.

When the legal system fails, people turn to vigilante justice, and we get this mess instead. People feel so strongly that Kiwifarms should be taken offline that they engage in illegal behavior themselves.

> and is responsible for multiple suicides.

I've suffered some cases of extreme, acute depression in my life, and I was lucky that I had some support that prevented my depression from killing me.

That said, I'm really uncomfortable with the language that somebody else can be, as you put it, "responsible" for someone's suicide. One of the things that is really driven home in therapy for depression (that is, after you're no longer in a suicidal state) is that you alone are responsible for your actions; you're not merely at the whim of your circumstances.

The harassment from Kiwifarms is/was reprehensible, but harassment alone, at that level, is enough to draw a social and legal response without pretending they are responsible for someone else's suicide.

With all due respect, that may be true in most cases and a good message to receive for most people in therapy, but it's not true in all cases. As has been shown time and time again, humans are very receptive to propaganda and brain washing, and there's only so much harassment a person can take. A "regular" person might need to hear that the world doesn't have an agenda against you, that you're responsible for your actions, and if there's something about your life that you don't like you can take action to change it. But if there's an actual campaign against you, that advice no longer holds, and eventually that kind of harassment can definitively drive somebody to suicide. The only time I've heard of Kiwi Farms before today was when Near committed suicide. There's plenty written about the tragic event, but you can start with their goodby thread on Twitter: https://twitter.com/near_koukai/status/1408940057235312640?s...

If a US national dies in Japan, the Japanese authorities report that information to the US authorities. The state department publishes a list of all deaths of US expats living abroad, and there are no deaths anywhere close to the date when Near/Byuu allegedly committed suicide:


Literally the only evidence that has been provided of his death is the statement of one of his friends and a photograph of a personalized urn. No obituaries, no police reports, etc.

The numbers provided by both countries are inconsistent with each other, and half of 2021 has no reported suicide in the State Department data. Please stop spreading this conspiracy theory based on statistics not being entirely consistent with the story, if they aren't even consistent with themselves.


Near is almost certainly not dead. There is no evidence of his death, he’s been seen alive by fellow foreign devs active in SE Asia and interacting with Hector’s Asahi Linux streams and Hector’s VTuber accounts, and he did not appear on any canonical government (Japanese or US) death lists.

I'm not sure that "this person only faked their suicide to escape harassment" really absolves Kiwifarms of much...

Near was dealing with way more than KF. He wanted his thread deleted because it documented him absconding with thousands of dollars of donor money and dozens of rare games he was supposed to return or donate after archiving. He further engaged in rather aggressive behavior with other developers in the emulation community. His thread had actually been dead for nearly a year when he suddenly emailed Josh asking for it to be deleted (which he offered six figures). He threatened suicide when Josh gave the email to his lawyer and asked whether or not said approach by Byuu/Near was legal. Funnily enough the email and the resulting spike in activity on his thread was actually precipitated by a few posts on here about him.

Again, my stance is as follows: KF is filled with despicable behavior and people. However we absolutely must be accurate and precise when it comes to what happens there and why certain people would rather the site not exist.

> he’s been seen alive by fellow foreign devs active in SE Asia and interacting with Hector’s Asahi Linux streams and Hector’s VTuber accounts

Source please?

Lifetime of depression and multiple suicide attempts as well. If I ever do it, it'll be because I suffered my whole life, not because of the most recent thing that happened the week before.

The standard shouldn't be whether someone is struggling with mental health.

It's whether or not that person would be alive today if it weren't for this targeted violence

As someone pointed out below people have been found liable for (at a minimum)contributing to someone's suicide.

Victims have specifically wrote this in a suicide note. And these sick people follow up on their deceased FB profiles commenting and basically bragging about what they've done.

So first of all, "violence" has a definition. We can't keep expanding the definition in order to justify actual violence in retaliation.

You can be found partly liable for someone's suicide if you've encouraged or groomed someone to commit suicide. Saying mean things to them does not constitute such an action.

We can all talk about how reprehensible kiwifarms is, that it encourages reprehensible behavior, that we would not want to spend time with many of the people there in our lives, that we would disown our children for participating there, etc. But we have to put a stop to this push to take every opportunity to increase the scope of retaliation. We can't change the scope of what violence is or who is responsible for a suicide just because we find their behavior reprehensible and want revenge, not if we want to live in a just society.

> if you've encouraged or groomed someone

This is literally what they do though. They harass them with the message that they will never stop until they do it. It's not just random bullying that then pushes people over the edge. It's commands that you need to commit suicide. It's calling your family and workplace and telling them you've committed suicide. The "joke" there being that not only do you initially shock the family, but when your target does commit suicide, the family doesn't believe the real call.

Really? Users of the site have actually done this? Do you have any info on instances of this happening? I've always thought it was online "harassment" which is easy to avoid.

I think the definition of violence is a fair discussion. I think it has shifted a bit. To me words that cause physical harm is violence.

Words can't cause physical harm though. Only actions can.

Yes they can. People harm themselves all the time because of words.

People harm themselves. that's the action. thats the violence.

I can go online and say manga sucks. Somewhere, some kid is going to get very, very angry. He/she might even do something very irrational.

People who wish to equate words with violence do so solely to justify responding to words with violence. The goal here is to make it acceptable to kill you for what you say.

You have to admit there is a very significant difference between going online and saying manga sucks and participating in an organized and targeted harassment of a particular person.

I know why you are making that analogy: you are seeking to find a simple demarcation between physical violence and words. But it's clear in both the law and regular life that words and violence are highly intertwined and difficult to separate. This is why courts and trials exist. One person shooting another person is a simple fact. But what if the other person told them they were going to kill them? What if the other person had subjected them to years of physical abuse? What if the other person had subjected them to years of emotional abuse? None of these erase the act of the shooting, but they do contextualize it and change the law's assessment of what needs to happen.

It's also a big stretch to think that most people who equate words with violence are trying to justify doing violence. They are trying to foreground that words do indeed cause violence: either by inciting other people to physical violence or, as the GP has said, people do violence to themselves. Peoples' bodies do have harmful stress responses to being repeatedly berated and placed in an environment of emotional adversity. Those who place people in those situations are culpable, even if they did not put hands on those people.

It's not a stretch at all. They want to punish words as if they were violence, i.e. put people in prison, send armed men to arrest them forcibly, etc. That's at the very least. This is openly stated, "some words should be illegal" is 1000% a sanction on violence against people for the words they speak.

In your examples, you get it right at the end: we seek to contextualize actions and use peoples words as evidence of context. It is the context of the acts that matter, not the words said.

Right, and zoomers would probably broadly agree with that, but almost everyone else doesn't, so it's very contentious. "Sticks and stones" liberals still basically control the world, at least until we start dying off in 30 years or so.

It's a lie. Saying words are violence is an attempt to make it so, not an observation.

People who say that are trying to use their words to force you to not have the right to use your words.

I'm not a zoomer.

I don't think it's as lopsided as you think. I think HN has a very strong, and fairly rigid, view on free speech.

And I think a much larger % than you imply see a grey area that is causing real, physical IRL harm.

It's hard to write down what I'm talking about. But it's pretty easy to see it.

Bullying has always caused physical harm. Both the kinetic type of pushing and this transitive type we are talking about.

There is some recent precedent for criminal responsibility for someone else's suicide: the (in)famous case of Conrad Roy and Michelle Carter. She was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging him to commit suicide over texts and phone calls.

> is that you alone are responsible for your actions; you're not merely at the whim of your circumstances.

It's not a choice when strangers online begin sending your embarrassing personal info to your family and friends, begin harassing your friends and show up in person to terrorize you.

Imagine if when you were suicidal, random strangers threatened the person supporting you until they told you they couldn't help you anymore because of them.

> The honest truth is, I've been bullied, ridiculed, and humiliated my entire life. From my earliest grade school memories to now. It's always hurt me deeply enough that I can't describe it in words. I could only just tolerate it with heavy depression when it was 4chan.

> But Kiwi Farms has made the harassment orders of magnitude worse. It's escalated from attacking me for being autistic, to attacking and doxing my friends, and trying to suicide bait another, just to get a reaction from me. I lost one of my best friends to this. I feel responsible

> I can't handle this anymore. I have tried everything. I have taken every medication available. I have tried multiple therapists. I have tried closing myself off from the world. It doesn't help at all. Every night I am filled with panic attacks and dread and worry


So you admit you had support. What about the people who don't?

The site and the person who host it (there is no legal entity involved here - just a person) have not done anything other than facilitating speech, which is heavily legally protected. The users of the site have done a lot, though.

The proper action would be to go after the users who do bad things, and bury the site operator in subpoenas to find these bad actors.

He's been taken to court around 7 times. It's almost as if he didn't break the law, and people just think he must of because it be so nasty!

This is the same argument made by anti-free speech people defending companies that censor/deplatform.

Something can be legal and wrong. Sometimes the law is out of date with reality.

I don't want that to be a quasi-unilateral judgement.

Also, one question. Suppose we do change the laws, and Kiwi Farms continues to operate within those new laws. Will that be enough, do you think? Because the US would have to outlaw dead naming and misgendering for it to be enough for the activists.

Privacy protections should apply regardless of whether it's a megacorporation or a disorganized group of independent actors.

Most of the individuals targeted by Kiwifarms are not running for office, or own prominent businesses. They are for the most part unemployed nobodies who live at home. I don't see any public interest in naming these people.

Still really unclear what law is being broken in that case. Unless you're proposing new speech-curtailing legislation. They're Intenet-famous. They're of interest to forever-onlines. This one in particular is of interest to women and parents who've so far resisted brainwashing.

Perhaps the reason that they haven't been taken down by the US legal system is because none of what they do is illegal by US law.

Yes, that is the problem that I was describing.

Facilitating/organizing mass harassment of mentally ill people should be against the law.

Contact your congresscreatures.

> The site has been engaging in mass harassment for years and is responsible for multiple suicides

> Speculation about the ‘trigger’ or cause of a suicide can oversimplify the issue and should be avoided. Suicide is extremely complex and most of the time there is no single event or factor that leads someone to take their own life.


> we shouldn’t be the ones making that call, and no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat

If one patron starts beating another to a pulp, the bartender breaking up the fight does not signify a failure of the rule of law or law enforcement. You stepped in to help. It would be nice if you were given official air cover to do so. But I and most Americans prefer a system where the government has extra hoops to jump through to halt even dangerous speech.

The bartender example is so wrong that it has wrapped around into rightness.

What really happens is that the bartender signals the cooler to throw out said patrons to settle it some place where it isn't their liability. It goes to the street, who knows where and what they'll do to each other.

And that's pretty much what cloudflare is doing here, saying "you can't do this in here" and now we get to see where the chips fall.

> What really happens is that the bartender signals the cooler to throw out said patrons to settle it some place where it isn't their liability. It goes to the street, who knows where and what they'll do to each other

This is more accurate, thank you. Either way, not a failure of law enforcement. (It is if the bartender calls the cops, they do nothing, and the victim turns up the next day in a hand basket.)

Nice metaphor - were the digital offenses becoming actual acts of violence in person?


The governments have had years to deal with kiwifarms and its criminal users, and failed.

The criminals are the ones impersonating KF users. They swatted a government official in their attempt to get rid of the site.

Giving in to them is allowing domestic terrorism.

Every website gets threats. The Stoneman Douglas shooter wrote a YouTube comment about how he wanted to be a school shooter, just weeks before his attack, which went unmoderated. Kiwifarms immediately deleted the threatening post. Why hold small discussion forums to such a higher standard? They deleted the post in minutes; so you expect them to delete violating posts faster than YouTube?

In the case of the Daily Stormer, it was free speech and you very clearly and directly made the incorrect call.

I'm a big fan of your thoughtful speeches while you grapple with these sticky situations. But why not just invest some pocket change in helping solve TOR's name resolution problem so that removal from the clearnet isn't the death sentence it currently is?

There's a simple and obvious solution to this which doesn't interfere with your principles or your business model: a crypto-driven system for assigning human readable addresses to onion addresses. With that in place and included in the tor browser and in a simple browser plugin for other browsers, you can focus on fighting DDOS attacks on clearnet sites instead of being the reluctant referee of the world's communication.

You are free to make a decentralized crypto-driven platform filled with nazi's. What you're ignoring is there are very valid reasons these platforms don't exist. They become deplorable crapsack worlds that 'normies' will not visit. It is never going to have any mainstream popularity. "Oh, you're on that nazi child porn software". And it requires a massive amount of moderation to ensure such a form does not become a complete hellhole (see failures of NNTP).

When you pull your crypto driven system out of the light, you are going to have to fight what lives in the dark. If you screwed up the protocol of your system and it's taken over, well it's gone, you exist outside the law and there are no means to get it back. Do a bunch of trolls with stolen crypto generation means exist on your network and flood out all the legitimate users, well too bad.

Civil society exists between the authoritarians that want dominion over everything and those that embrace chaos and would leave the world in ruin. It is a delicate and imperfect balance, but where it exists allows humanity to flourish.

The tor dark web already exists and everybody knows what goes on there. There are already decentralized crypto-driven naming services.

Merely improving the tor network's name resolution has nothing to do with your grand philosophical argument against internet freedom.

I believe we're arguing past each other. What I'm saying is there is no business model (one is even needed for free projects like the linux kernel) that motivates people to spend this effort. The people with the technical know how and desire to obtain the materials on it already use it. Beyond that group there is little motivation to expand such network, civil society tends to operate in the open.

I'm talking about an elegant technical solution to cloudflare's very real business problem. If they deliver a solid open source solution to the dark web name resolution problem, there's less pressure on them to host all sorts of marginal content.

A rare win/win.

"civil society tends to operate in the open"

... Some of us aren't up to your standards of civility and propriety, and we're going to find ways to get on without your permission.

Then write the code already, just don't demand that someone else do it for you.

It's entirely okay to bully people who've made billions atop open and open source software into contributing back to the community.

Especially when you can make the case that doing so will help their bottom line and legal footing.

I think OP’s point was that nobody would want to help a cesspool of racists and pedophiles operate more effectively.

Claiming that pedophiles also wish to communicate privately as an argument against private communication is beneath my comprehension. To even think that way gives me a sort of ice cream headache of the soul. Knowing that a large and growing share of people actually think that ways triggers and harms me.

The government should have the ability to violate privacy subject to judicial review. Otherwise, no law could be reasonably enforced.

Successive governments have undermined the authority of judicial review and I'd support anyone campaigning to change that. But, the solution isn't to try and build a system that prevents the government from ever piercing the privacy of citizens. That's just a recipe for anarchy.

Honestly, maybe a few years ago I might have been on your side. But, this whole cryptocurrency saga has just soured me on techno-libertarianism. A society needs an effective government (accountable to the people) that can enforce the law.

The public key cryptographic algorithm is in the public domain so the question is really just how humanity will grapple with the fact that humans can communicate privately.

I agree it presents a lot of problems, crypto has harmed millions of people, and the people who presented crypto as investments should be held accountable by standard government rules.

Yet, people freak out when things like Tornado Cash get sanctioned. If there is total inviolable privacy, then criminals will act with impunity.

But yes, these are indeed complicated problems. All I really know is that I sleep much better at night knowing I've never aided this movement in any way.

The problem is: how do you determine that nobody else was taking this seriously? I don't know anything about Kiwifarms, so I may simply look foolish asking this, but: how do you know there was an imminent emergency? Did you conduct your own independent investigation? Or was this a response to some alarming Twitter outrage? Those are the type of questions on my mind. Essentially, did you do all the things one would reasonably expect of law enforcement who are equip to handle emergencies in a situation like this?

You are right, the simple idea of vigilante corporations makes my skin crawl. The double standards, of sort, are pretty logically inconsistent and frustrating. You’re saying, “Cloudflare acknowledges that policing the internet is not an appropriate responsibility for a platform provider, but we’re gonna do it anyway because the rest of society doesn't have its act together.” I guess I am to some extent expecting a citation on that last part so I can verify your claims are serious and not just corporate knee jerk.

Finally, let’s assuming there is indeed an emergency and the you are 100% spot on with your mitigation strategy. Crisis averted. Then what happens? Is this permanent? Once the immediate emergency is over, would you be comfortable reinstating Kiwifarms as a customer? There are some “don’t be Google” vibes here that make me uncomfortable too.

In a fair environment, once an emergency is dealt with and justice served, we go back to normal. I find it hard to believe you’d be amenable to that type of resolution because I’m used to corporate decisions being final and essentially unable to be appealed. Or, at least they’re final until Twitter starts griping about the new injustice such a final outcome has caused.

You may not want the mantle but, by choosing to act, you are, at least for now, picking it up. Yes, this is way more nuanced than “free speech”. I hope you’re ready…

if CloudFlare is hiring in their precrime division I want to apply. I like the idea of not waiting for the law to act (or fail) at its own pace.

>Or was this a response to some alarming Twitter outrage?

People have died. Byuu/Near comitted suicide after an harassment campaign that lasted years and included death threats, doxing, and harassment both online and irl.

Free speech in my book is about protecting people like Near from being harassed into silence or death, more than it is about enabling said harassment campaigns.

Cloudflare is framing this like there is an imminent emergency that they just averted. I think the burden is on them to bear the supporting facts. The blog post doesn't have any.

Imagine I own a bunch of billboards around town. A customer comes to me with cash and wants to display someone's personal details and a message encouraging harassment on my billboards.

Do I have to wait for law enforcement to stop me from displaying their content? Or can I, as a private company, make a judgement call and decline their business?

I think the answer here is pretty obvious and your attempt at passing the buck is pathetically weak.

Now suppose they own the billboard themselves but you're the power company they use to light up that billboard. Do you cut their power?

They can contract with a different company.

Maybe, what difference does it make? It’s a billboard.

How do you intend to generalize this case to other websites with user-generated content? Because the precedent set today is that a single threatening user-generated comment is enough to pull Cloudflare security services for the entire site, regardless of how quickly the website performs their own moderation, as long as it stays up long enough to be screenshotted and passed around on Twitter. That's basically carte blanche to deny service to any website with user generated content whenever you want.

Cloudflare's post the other day seemed like a very reasonable framework for making decisions on issues like this, but Cloudflare's actions today just severely undercut your credibility on this issue.

It is generalized: CF dropped 8chan and archive.is few years ago.

I wonder that KiwiFarms worked for so long and that Gab.com is still on CF.

Did blocking the content save anybody's life? If so, how? If you don't know, can you even articulate a theory in which blocking content could save a life imminently threatened?

I don't dispute that a life was threatened and murder may have been imminent, I'm taking that for granted. I just don't understand how this action could have any effect upon that course of events. Murder is a physical-world thing, not an online content thing.

Further explanation would be appreciated.

I'm not sure where you're getting these ideas from, but not taking every threat seriously is a serious failing of internet forums over the long term.

(the next paragraph is an example and not real, do not take any intent from it, which in itself may be ironic considering the argument I'm making).

If I call out "We should kill assetlabel because I do not like their politics", in itself it is not a serious threat, as I don't know you and cannot act on it. But it would be a mistake to tolerate the statement, even in a 'joking' manner (you can see in my previous post the 'joking' manner is commonly used by fascists to downplay serious threats). Again, the issue with allowing this behavior is it normalizes it. Now we step it up, what if 4 people repeat this same threat, 10, 20, 100? With each person repeating the line the chances of someone knowing you and acting on this behavior increases greatly. Any such threat must be moderated, and sites must have a history moderating such behaviors and not tolerating them.

In the early days of the internet being anonymous was somewhat easy, and in the later days of the internet it is nearly impossible, and more worryingly you must continue to remain anonymous in the future after such threats are made against you as you have no idea how long someone may harbor aggression over the situation. Based the early days of the internet we've normalized violence and threats and carried it on much too long as it has consequences in the real world.

Of course not. It wasn't an actual threat, though it sounded like one. The mods handled it as soon as they became aware.

Unelected technocrats taking the law into their own hands and using arbitrary judgment calls to manipulate infrastructure is not an improvement on the current legal system. Especially when they are making promises they don't keep and when they then try to gaslight people into thinking this has nothing to do with external political pressure.

The law is on Cloudflare's side. It's a private company free to choose who they do business with.

If you would like Cloudflare to be legally obliged to act like a utility or public infrastructure, lobby for actual laws to regulate it.

There was one threat which was immediately removed by the moderators. Why is it your business to take down an entire site because one user on it broke the rules and was stopped by the site moderators?

Actually it's about the fact that you don't want to spend the money to enforce an AUP, like just about every other ISP does. Instead you want someone else to make the that system for you. Every printer gets to decide if they want to print Mein Kampf, and most decide that they won't. Movie theaters get to decide if they want to show dirty movies. Liberal society recognizes human interactions beyond the merely legal.

What you're saying is you're fine hosting harassment until it gets bad enough for a court to finally intervene and order it offline. But Kiwifarms was already banned in New Zealand for hosting a snuff film showing innocent people getting slaughtered for their religion. I'm not sure what exactly you wanted: a US court issuing an order that would almost certainly be unconsitutional prior restraint? An obscenity prosecution?

Society has decided that it's your choice what kinds of speech the company you control enables, and you've decide to tell us that you're going to pretend it isn't. Well, it is. Those sites are up on Cloudflare, because you want them to be, and nothing you say is going to change that reality.

So then why did you become the liability decision maker on behalf of your customer, if you were not required by the law?

After many sales emails that we ignored, your sales guy found and called me on my personal cell when I was on vacations in Mexico City, trying to push a 5000/mo DDoS mitigation contract, and i explained to him that we are happier paying 100k/year to a net neutral company VeriSign (now down to 27k), than offloading the legal liability decisions on our behalf to your Majesty Matthew Prince.

While it makes sense to use CF for a booter DDoS-for-hire outfit accepting Monero, any legitimate company that has real money and jobs at stake should not use CF.

> could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems. > Encourage you when these issues arise to think of them in the rule of law context

To get this straight: your position is that this is not about free speech because something clearly illegal happened and you acted purely to expedite matters since law enforcement was too slow to react and there was material danger.

So you are then tying your reputation to there being eventual legal consequences for what happened in recent days on Kiwi Farms?

I always appreciate your stance (as you have tried to maintain for many years) on the importance of trying to be neutral.

It is kind of funny that your latest argument / blog was your best and just a week ago…

So thank you. Anyone capable of reading between the lines here doesn’t fault you or believe the “new threats story”.

But that’s okay. Media pressure, bad PR, ESG scores, losing customers, and the bigger HR problem of employees/ engineers becoming deranged and unfocused is not worth the trade off. It casts a pretty shadow over the real and good company stuff.

Thanks for being reasonable and understanding this is just not the way things should be.

Hopefully you can quietly lobby for clearer legal guidance or a better measured shift in the public conversation.

Until then… here’s to the next one! See you back here in 6-12 months all over again, haha.

Did Cloudflare give KF notice that it intended to take this action and enable them to avoid service disruption? Or did Cloudflare intend that KF should experience service disruption?

KF admins Telegram: "Cloudflare's decision to block the site was done without any discussion. The message I've received is a vague suspension notice. The message from Matthew Prince is unclear. If there is any threat to life on the site, I have received no communication from any law enforcement."

Sure, but KF hasn't specifically clarified whether the block was without _notice_ as opposed to just without _discussion_. And even if KF had specifically claimed that there was no notice given, I still want to ask CF to confirm or deny this. I may be suspicious of CF, but I don't want to turn around and trust KF's statements unconditionally. Also, I've attacked CF for this [https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32709749] and I would want to change what I said if I was wrong.

I remember many years ago with lulzsec, where cloudflare refused to shutdown their services. Whether what they did was moral or not, it was a still a crime and I imagine it was because they agreed with the message.

To the best of my knowledge nobody's life was threatened or endangered.

I'd compare it to a website shutting down someone's account because they send a meme where they might not have the rights, which is illegal, which also isn't usually resulting in a ban.

Now where you draw the line is a philosophical question.

> we shouldn’t be the ones making that call, and no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat.

By making that call regardless, I don’t think you’ve increased the likelihood of law enforcement (or other appropriate parties) stepping up to deal with such cases in a timely manner in the future. Maybe rather the opposite, which would be unfortunate.

What was the actual threat? Was it posted on Kiwi Farms, or transmitted via another channel?

+1, what was the thing that changed today vs a week ago?

If this is going to eventually become precedent (despite what is said this is now the new basis from which other decisions are made) other site owners and future one’s should have an idea of what exactly wasn’t dealt with. Cloudflare’s reach is extensive and becoming a critical part the internet so there’s plenty at stake here.

The lack of transparency by Google, Facebook, etc is the worst part of this whole top-level internet moderation trend.

August 5 was a month ago and the MTG SWATing was obviously an anti-Kiwifarms troll…

> Officials said they received a second call from the suspect, using a computer-generated voice, saying they were upset about Greene’s view on transgender youth rights.


Neither of those incidents took place in the last 48 hours, or have been definitively attributed to Kiwi Farms.

Kiwi Farms is back on an alternate domain.

Posters in the Keffals thread believe the fake bomb threat was to blame for Cloudflare’s reaction. The account which made the post barely had any other activity on the site. The post itself was removed quickly by moderators. If it’s true that an obvious fake bomb threat which was swiftly removed was the cause for this action, Cloudflare has some hard explaining to do to its remaining customers. Fake anonymous posts and an ideological Twitter mob can apparently DoS your entire operation with Cloudflare.

If the threat was something else, I and other customers would love to learn exactly what it was.

IF the above is true, it sounds more like a convenient excuse to do what you’ve wanted to do all along.

The bomb threat could have originated from a disgruntled cloudflare employee on cloudflare network/hardware, I wonder then if they'd take themselves down? Probably not, different strokes for different folks.

I'd like to honestly better understand why, if there is a threat of violence, law enforcement cannot act.

To be fair the far majority of threads on Kiwifarms did not call to act at all. I am no regular visitor but so far I never saw someone calling for violence or anything. Rather the opposite was a common message along 'enjoy the content but don't interact with them'

They don’t care about threats of violence unless they’re targeted at law enforcement itself or at people they consider important.

What threat exactly? How do we know it wasn't a false flag by someone wanting to take the site offline?

Matthew, you don't give a damn about free speech. You've proven it numerous times. Quit pretending that you do.

I don’t necessarily disagree, but what does banning them from Cloudflare achieve?

Is it just that the company feels unconfortable providing them any kind of service given the nature of the currently posted content?

Because banning them should have no effect on their ability to generate/serve that content, maybe make it a bit more expensive (though I see that their site is still blocked, so maybe immediately disabling Cloudflare isn’t an option for them either)

I'd like to have seen some transparency, e.g. post redacted examples of the content that caused this conclusion.

We do not call "rule of law" "due process" in US. Due process is the tempering of the application of law ("Rule of Law") by the state. You start off clouding matters (npi).

> traditional rule of law systems.

As opposed to what, "modern and innovative corporate rule of law systems"?

INAL but I am pretty sure there are all sort of legal actions that can be taken before the entire "due process" is completed.

You are aware, Mr. Prince, that people can be arrested and put in jail ("Rule of Law") and have a court date at a much later date ("Due Process")?

[p.s. for hn]: It's not that I give a fig about wikifarms (which was TIL for me). But this posturing by Cloudflare and framing this as a responsible action in context of 'a broken legal system' (aka "traditional") is too much.

Yes, let's have CEOs of SV companies apply the "Rule of Law" for us. While you are at it, why don't you 'edit' the content that you are 'fronting'? "Traditional editorial systems" are also desperately in need of the wise guidance of CEOs and corporations! /s

>Reading over the comments I see everyone thinking this is about “free speech.” It is not.

Indeed it’s not - you have no problems with censoring your critics. It’s about you being bad actors (https://news.ycombinator.com/reply?id=32705613) but now pretending not to, because share prices started to tank.

Josh has received no contact from federal law enforcement. He has never not complied with their requests and is open about every request he does receive. He does this by creating a post notifying the community of the post and how he responded.

He’s also pro-active in both deleting and reporting any posts that advocate violence, whether that’s a bombing, shooting or stalking.

There is no credible evidence of any physical violence or deaths resulting from KiwiFarms.

Chloe Sagal stated in her farewell messages that her pain came from negative comments made about, and to, her by fellow members of the broader LBGTQIA+ community.

Byuu/Near faked his death, as he did not appear on any Japanese or US death lists. He also has been seen by other developer expats in the time that has passed since his purported suicide.

There is no evidence for the claims being made in the drive to cancel this website. I say this as someone who has never posted there and personally find much of it reprehensible to my ethics and politics.

> the risk created by the content

What risk? Can you please share details? From my perspective, it seems like this is a thin excuse, and there was not actually a credible risk that you were mitigating.

> That’s a failure of the rule of law on two dimensions: we shouldn’t be the ones making that call, and no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat.

sure, but I presume CF makes the decision of whether or not to facilitate access to/sell services to other undesirable bits of the internet all the time without requiring law enforcement intervention.

  * Does CF wait for LE or a court case to block or drop malware distribution or command&control channels from their cache/NS/1.1.1.{2+} resolvers?
  * Would CF wait until LE intervenes to drop a known, demonstrated CP host? 
  * Would CF continue to cache pirated material until a court stepped in even if approached by an alleged copyright holder? 
  * Would any of the above actors have a right of appeal with CF?

“The law doesn’t work so I’m gonna be the law.”

- every evil person ever

Another often (purposely?) forgotten freedom: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_association

> we shouldn’t be the ones making that call

So you believe that your company shouldn’t be constrained by morality? This is why I look skeptically at hiring any engineering and product leaders from Cloudflare at any company in which I work

>I see everyone thinking this is about “free speech.” It is not.

Says the people blocking access.

>the risk created by the content

What risk? Fearmongering is always the first defense of those who wish to limit free speech. "Something will happen if we don't." Can I get a crystal ball like yours from amazon?

>no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat.

What threat?

>Encourage you when these issues arise to think of them in the rule of law context, rather than free speech,

Free speech should trump the rule of law. When it doesn't you end up with tyranny.

Twitter mob wants more

I have no idea why and this piecemeal information leak looks bad

You’re just going to wind up like Facebook where their content moderation completely missed the fanning of genocide in Myanmar and that actual outcome, all the “immediate threats” not just one person getting doxxed

Rule of law? I have no clue what distinction you’re making, as it is neither a legal free speech or rule of law issue. Leave the communication to the lawyers?

Will you also ban violent threats from the left to Andy Ngo? He has been thoroughly documenting it. And published a NYT bestseller “Unmasked”, a written account of how violence from the extreme left is being ignored.

I’d like to see equal treatment, that’s the least worst option.

I want extreme objectivity at the highest level.

Edit: I’m questioning OBJECTIVITY and Andy Ngo is just a fucking example. Find some hypothetical antifa forum, the point is about standards.

Which specific sites that Cloudfare hosts or provides services to would you like to see cut off, y’know for equal treatment.

Yea they’re scattered around. Just hypothetically, I want promise that at the very least we are not in a ideological hell hole.

The details of this is irrelevant IMO, let me repeat the argument I’m posing: Is there an objective standard that can be applied across the political spectrum?

We should be concerned that there is a political hijacking. That sits extremely unwell with me. We need to condemn all violence otherwise any actions by Cloudflare are just politics and frankly, terrifying.

So, which sites? If they are scattered around, please post a couple links?

Arguing pure hypotheticals is rarely productive.

> Arguing pure hypotheticals is rarely productive.

Posing hypotheticals is exactly how to test the limits of the system. It is a key component of the legislative and law making process. The entire field of law, millions of lawyers think about hypotheticals on a daily basis to analyze, write and interpret the law. Humans have evolved to have a dedicated frontal lobe whose job is to predict hypothetical scenarios and conduct cost/benefit/planning analysis. As a software engineer, I write hypothetical inputs to create unit tests so my system doesn't break. Thinking about hypotheticals is basically fundamental to all things in life and the universe.

So that's a no, you have no examples. Got it.

> we shouldn’t be the ones making that call

Well, who should? Is anything with the authority going to or even inclined to in the slightest?

Cloudflare has maintained a lobbying/policy department since quite early on, but I'd argue that the post from the 31st wasn't so much that there _should_ be policy against this than that there simply isn't. Given the coming EU DSA or, hell, the comical farce that is/was Texas HB20, it seems clear that further government regulation of online speech is coming in some capacity. How is Cloudflare discussing these issues with lawmakers? Are they taking the approach that existing law and enforcement mechanisms are fully sufficient, or are they arguing that there is a common strain between KiwiFarms, 8chan, and the Daily Stormer that has demonstrated a known pathway between speech and violence that needs some sort of updated legal framework?

> Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

Given kiwifarms most definitely remains up[1] (all your action did was let them be DDOSed for an hour or two) and this imminent dealy threat has not materialized, will you invite them back to your infrastructure? Or was this just an excuse and you were unhappy about the bad PR?

[1] https://kiwifarms.ru/threads/matthew-prince-lied.128900/

The issue is about "free speech" AND "due process" AND the "rule of law". In the US, the law is emphatic that the government shall not infringe upon the free speech of the individual except under very limited circumstances. People on HN insisting that these are private corporations doing private things are painfully naive "useful idiots" or shills for the government. Zuckerberg just admitted that the FBI and intelligence services applied pressure on Facebook to suppress information that would harm the campaign of the candidate who ended up winning the last presidential election. That is fact. The "requests" from government are ALWAYS going to be couched in the language of risk and helping law enforcement. And what would the consequences of a media company's refusal to comply be? What corporate executive wants to find out?

There is already US case law prohibiting this. At scale, governments prefer to act through "private" enterprise. Such enterprises are "state actors" suppressing speech. That is why government prefers monopoly capitalism. Who wouldn't rather have just one or a few partners to manage?

Of course this is a free speech issue, but it's much more. Cloudflare's volte face is super sus. Even if it's the case that no direct government agents were involved this time, the astroturfed pressure campaigns run by state sponsored NGO money are just the privatized surveillance and secret police state hard at work.

The deep issue is that US politicians and citizens are abandoning "rule of law" expectations in domestic politics. These free speech issues are the visible manifestation of a shift in the structure of power in US politics to an unapologetic administrative uni-party, accelerating in real time. Arguing the ludicrous details of this Kiwifarms blocking is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

> Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

So you are fine to bypass the laws on your own? How practical.

Kiwifarmers can call each other on the phone, stand on a soapbox in a park, print pamphlets and distribute them. They are still free to say whatever they want to whomever they want without fear of a Government throwing them in jail unless they break the law. Anonymous posts simply allow Kiwifarmers to say things they would likely never say to your face. Cloudflare simply chose to not allow their paid for service to support this behavior. Big deal.

> Our decision today was that the risk created by the content could not be dealt with in a timely enough matter by the traditional rule of law systems.

Do you not see how concerning (not to mention arrogant) it is when a corporation decides to act because it believes the law is inadequate. When individuals do this, we call it vigilantism.

It does set a dangerous precedent and will have a chilling effect. You could have done this silently. Blogging about this is disgusting.

It is not your job to be the police. You should let the authorities do their job.

I think this better encapsulates what I was going for with my comment. For whatever it's worth, I strongly agree.

"Our decision..." who are you?

> "Our decision..." who are you?


> CEO & co-founder of CloudFlare

For context, @eastdakota on HN is Matthew Prince, the CEO/founder of Cloudflare.

Turns out there's no such thing as neutrality. Connecting content to the world is a choice your team approves or declines. You can complain about scalability of that decision all you want. Cloudflare is not neutral, and will never be. You're an active participant and you have to deal with your responsibility.

Is the phone company responsible for connecting content? How about your internet service provider? At what level does someone become responsible?

This is a question for the law, not for the mob. The internet, thanks to a completely fucked up legal regime (section 230), is currently very gray.

Facebook and Twitter, which are commonly used to facilitate large-scale violent riots and play host to far more doxxing and cyberbullying than kiwifarms could ever hope to, get a pass despite being the main facilitator of that communication. In contrast, infrastructure services like Cloudflare (and even AWS) have been subject to intense pressure to drop other sites where people say bad things.

Under this theory, we need to be taking Facebook and Twitter offline immediately. And maybe also the phone company too.

At all levels, and Cloudflare isn't exempted from that. Social media platforms already routinely decline to host content via moderation.

So is it your position that the phone company should disconnect anyone that they believe is saying mean things about people?

Mainstream social media also largely does not moderate nearly well enough to uphold the standard that you are applying to Cloudflare.

Does "at all levels" include ISPs? Electricity providers?

All levels of awareness have responsibility. While telcos and ISPs do have enforcement mechanisms when they are made aware, using Cloudflare's own suggested model, Cloudflare is closer to the content and therefore responsible earlier.

> All levels of awareness have responsibility. While telcos and ISPs do have enforcement mechanisms when they are made aware

I don't think that's right? Legally we've set things up so that no matter how despicable your site is, your telco or ISP can't decide on their own shut you off. They're regulated as infrastructure, and are required to keep doing business with you. They'll shut you off if they receive a court order, but not on their own judgement.

Telcos and ISPs are forbidden from taking you offline for speech. The process is about whether you have done something illegal that goes beyond speech (for example, accessing pirated material or child pornography).

Well, the phone company can't legally listen in on your private conversations.

In contrast, nothing prevents Cloudflare from looking at a company's public-facing website (ie as an unprivileged visitor just going to the domain) and deciding whether or not one wants to do business with that company.

There is no law preventing your ISP from surveilling you. Are they responsible if you harass someone online and they allow you to keep your service?

Try to stay on topic, I'm not going to rewrite my arguments over and over.

Yes. Also gray areas do exist. This isn't one of them.

>Our decision today

Your decision today. You took ownership before for the arbitrary decisions to remove DS and 8Chan, take ownership now and do not try to backpedal. You are Cloudflare's leader.

>That’s a failure of the rule of law on two dimensions: we shouldn’t be the ones making that call, and no one else who should was stepping up in spite of being aware of the threat.

You failed to take ownership of this issue either way. Your response suggests you can't understand the responsibility that you continue to have and are trying to shirk it. My suggestion is, find someone who is willing to be compensated to have this responsibility if it burdens you so. That's part of a leader's job.

My guess is that the people who pressured CF to take down kiwifarms knew about this, and knew that they had bowed to public pressure before and removed sites.

There was a lot of compromising and embarrassing information on KF about the activist who started this campaign (a streamer called Keffals). It looks like the whole feud actually started when Keffals wanted to take down this site to remove the embarrassing information, solicit donations, and gain some activist street cred. Users of KF did not respond well to the initial calls to take it down, and things escalated from there.

>My guess is that the people who pressured CF to take down kiwifarms knew about this, and knew that they had bowed to public pressure before and removed sites.

It doesn't really change the situation. CF isn't a public utility, there are no sorts of 'due process' that they need to follow on cases like this, especially in extraordinary circumstances. Advertisers pull campaigns all the time due to public perception changing.

My critique isn't on Mr. Prince deciding to keep KF up or not, it's specifically on his trying to walk away from the responsibility of making a choice either way. If he does not like the unwanted attention received from having to make these difficult choices nobody is forcing him to be in that position where he's expected to.

Similarly, if KF's owner doesn't want to get banned from using companies services they can work on their moderation and public perception.

I agree with you, and I think that refusing to establish a firm line is what opened them up to this campaign.

If they had said, "we believe everyone should be respected, and any time a site coordinates harassment, we will remove it from our service," I would have had a lot more respect for them. If they had said, "we host content from Nazis and Communists, and we are not proud of it, but this is an infrastructure service and everyone is welcome," I would have had a lot more respect for them.

> I agree with you, and I think that refusing to establish a firm line is what opened them up to this campaign.

Additionally Mr. Prince had options at his disposal after the first time this happened. Cloudflare's a large valuable company. He could have retained a 'Director of Enforcement' after that event and told the world "their word is final on enforcement actions, I am removing myself from the moderation pipeline to focus on growing the business". Then if one of their decisions backfired, dismiss them. There's plenty of talented people willing to accept a large compensation package for that risk.

>If they had said, "we believe everyone should be respected, and any time a site coordinates harassment, we will remove it from our service," I would have had a lot more respect for them. If they had said, "we host content from Nazis and Communists, and we are not proud of it, but this is an infrastructure service and everyone is welcome," I would have had a lot more respect for them.

Probably also something to consider: this is a public company. The latter option is maybe not tenable for a large public corporation subject to the whims of shareholders. By that I mean times and beliefs change over time and a public company has to adjust to that in order to continue to attract investors. Private companies can work with whomever they feel and if it's their niche to work with 'high risk' clients, nobody is stopping them.

It's not an infrastructures job to enforce morality outside of the law.

That is a dangerous place to get to. Due process has incredible value. It allows us to live free lives while also punishing and preventing crimes.

I can't even view the US Constitution [1] when my IP is on DigitalOcean (most of the time). Kiwifarms was perfectly accessible from the same connection last night. It's ironic talking about 'due process' when I can't even browse the highest law in the land due to this company.

[1] https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/

Someone who is the target of an organized violence campaign by kiwifarms can't live a free life.

When you say "violence" what do you mean? Physical attack? Vandalism? Something that could be remedied with a restraining order?

If there's actual violence being organized here I'm wondering why nobody has been charged with a crime.

They seemingly can if they just stop posting every waking moment of their life on the internet so it can be scooped up and analyzed by kiwifarm trolls.

Why should an individual doing nothing wrong HAVE to change their own behavior simply to stop being harassed? That’s not a solution, that’s going into hiding.

Also, considering people doxxed her address and kept showing up / swatting her, I doubt that would even be a short term solution at all, other than emboldening the harassers.

That is a great argument as to why law enforcement needs to be empowered and resourced to deal with this stuff. I'll back any effort to do that.

What organised violence? People posting shit about you on a forum isn't organized violence.

Watching company employees consistently pop up on critical threads (not fingering CF here, many including at least Stripe come to mind as frequently occurring too) feels a lot like gaming the forum. Vetted messages like this from a recognizable source will often end up pinned to the top of the thread, but I don't really think they overly contribute to the conversation in most cases, and I find myself wishing there was some rule against it.

Not to say there shouldn't be a place for official responses, just that it's kinda tiring to see crowdpleasing justifications during times of stress displacing the thoughts of other potentially less biased folk on the Internet discussing the problem at hand.

(The counterargument would be that the status quo provides unparalleled public access to top-level staff, I'll leave that angle for someone else to explore ;)

I have to disagree with this. These folks are best positioned to give us actual information. 90% of the rest is just opining.

At the same time these folks have all the incentives to provide false information instead.

I don't have any huge problem with eastdakota's comment here, and I think I agree with Cloudflare's action (I listened to a Behind the Bastards podcast recently that covered an individual who was bullied until they committed suicide by kiwifarms, so I understand the stakes) but - there is nothing in their comment that presents "actual information"; it does not present any facts; it just presents the perspective that their legal team would like all of us to take on their action. dmw_ng's criticism is entirely fair.

It's pretty easy to, you know, scroll down.

Companies in this position are damned if they do, damned if they don't. I for one at least appreciate thoughtful, substantive responses from company leadership in company-specific threads, and I'm happy that at least on HN we are more likely to be given a real, substantive response than the corporate drivel that is shoveled to most other media outlets.

It seems fair if people can reply to those posts, as you have done.

> ...kinda tiring to see crowdpleasing justifications during times of stress

People must be allowed to change their minds without being stigmatized or judged for it.

> ...displacing the thoughts of other potentially less biased folk on the Internet discussing the problem at hand.

Well, why should one look for additional (potentially irrelevant) context [0] when there's debate that could be had on its resolution? I mean, it is a struggle to get everyone to agree even when they are on the same page [1].

[0] https://youtu.be/bjD3PcULhJg?t=369 / https://ghostarchive.org/varchive/bjD3PcULhJg

[1] https://nitter.net/visualizevalue/status/1565797227527868417

how do you know it wasn't just trolls trying to get KF taken down?

More importantly, does he even care if that were the case? (All signs point to no.)

"hi I'm a liar and we only did something because the bad press started to go mainstream. fuck trans people"

While I agree with you that the content on kiwifarms is not covered by free speech, you should not play law enforcement and wait for a court order instead.

> Encourage you when these issues arise to think of them in the rule of law context, rather than free speech

That's a clever way of spinning the issue. But no amount of spinning can change the fact that you are clearly using doublespeak. Contrary to what you say in the post, this clearly isn't in the spirit of the policy you had promised [1], or even had advertised just a few days ago. [2]

You are mostly just giving in to pressure. I can't blame you for that, given that I have to use a pseudonym here myself.

Otherwise, if this was just a matter of different principles, you would also kick out media websites who regularly dox people, or publish dumps of hacked websites, etc.

[1]: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/cloudflares-ceo-...

[2]: https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflares-abuse-policies-and-a...

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