How do you like to use the internet? To watch videos of puppies and kittens? Or posting pictures of your family and friends? Maybe to satisfy your shopping addiction on Amazon? Maybe your internet use has not been so innocent. Many use the internet to get a thrill or get their anger out. Online harassment is not uncommon, so much so that there are websites built to support it. Kiwi Farms, for example, is a forum website where users are encouraged to harass online personalities and communities. Today’s GKIS article details the targeted harassment done by Kiwi Farms users and how the website facilitates this behavior. If you’re concerned your kids may be victimized by harassment or overstep and do the harassing themselves, check out our Screen Safety Toolkit. With this online course and resource guide, you can learn how to protect your family online.
The Start of Kiwi Farms
Joshua Conner Moon, a former administrator of the 8chan message board, started Kiwi Farms in 2013. It was first established as a forum website to troll and harass a webcomic creator. Before the term “Kiwi Farms” was coined in 2014, Kiwi Farms was known as “CWCki Forums.”
The Kiwi Farms website targets a wide range of victims, including Internet celebrities, minorities, women, neurodivergent individuals, LGBTQ people, members of the far right, and people who Kiwi Farms users believe to be “mentally ill” or “sexually deviant.” Both Moon and the Kiwi Farms user base have been labeled as anti-Semitic.
Kiwi Farms members use tactics of harassment like
- organized group trolling
- doxxing (publishing someone’s private information)
- harassing their family members and friends
- attempts to get them fired from their jobs
- swatting (reporting crimes at their addresses to have police dispatched to their homes)
- real-life attacks
People Who Have Fallen Victim
U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed in an interview with NewsMax on August 24, 2022 that she had been swatted twice by someone posing as a Kiwi Farms moderator “AltisticRight.” She urged for the website to be taken down. In reaction, Cloudflare shut off a feature on the website that lets users modify error messages.
Clara Sorrenti, a transgender advocate and Twitch broadcaster who goes by the handle “Keffals,” was doxxed on Kiwi Farms as well. Users of the website shared both her personal information and those of her friends and relatives, including addresses and phone numbers. Users also threatened her life and leaked sexually explicit images of her. In August 2022, after someone hijacked her identity and sent false emails to local lawmakers threatening widespread violence, she was later swatted, imprisoned for more than ten hours, and arrested. She was ultimately exonerated of all charges, and authorities determined that the incident was a swatting effort.
Users also shared the address of a stranger who lives in the same city and has the same last name as Sorrenti. Police were subsequently dispatched to his home. Sorrenti claimed that she left her house and checked into a hotel for her protection following the swatting event. After she uploaded a picture of her cat lying on a hotel bed, Kiwi Farms members recognized the establishment from the bedsheets and sent several pizza orders to it using her dead name.
Later, Sorrenti left the country after her whereabouts were discovered, allegedly by someone who had hacked her Uber account. Sorrenti says that she intends to file a lawsuit and that the occurrences were being investigated as criminal harassment.
A hate campaign against transgender game creator Chloe Sagal was started in 2013 by Kiwi Farm users. Sagal is well-known for creating the well-liked, independent horror game Homesick. After Sagal started raising funds for gender reassignment surgery, they began to attack her. Users hounded and harassed Sagal for years after they started a post specifically to target her. Sagal lit herself on fire in 2018 in a park in Portland and died at 31 years old.
According to images of chat boards and videos published by DropKiwiFarms.net, an initiative was passed to shut down the website after Moon posted a live YouTube video celebrating Sagal’s passing while other Kiwi Farms users laughed and made fun of the game developer.
The Short End of Kiwi Farms
After the harassment effort by users of Kiwi Farms against Sorrenti, a movement to persuade Cloudflare to stop hosting the site was launched in August 2022. Cloudflare is a company that provides hosting and online security services. This, according to NBC News, was done to allow Kiwi Farms to be the target of “debilitating virtual attacks.”
Although Cloudflare first defended its choice to continue working with Kiwi Farms, the company formally banned the website from utilizing its services on September 3, 2022. However, on September 6, VanwaTech supplied content delivery network services to the website, returning it online according to The Daily Dot.
How to Protect Your Child
Unfortunately, many parts of the internet are unregulated. And when children have easy access to it, they can fall victim to being harassed online or fall down a dark path of harassing people themselves. Luckily, Dr. Bennett can help you protect yourself and your family from online harassment.
One helpful tip for parents is to make it a habit to hold GKIS Family Meetings with a teaching agenda that covers important online issues that your children will face. This provides opportunities for mutual education and skill building, and it also builds a close family alliance. Get ideas for your discussion with our GKIS Blog and learn parenting strategies with Dr. Bennett’s Screen Time in the Mean Time Parenting Guide.
I’m the mom psychologist who will help you GetKidsInternetSafe.
Onward to More Awesome Parenting,
Tracy S. Bennett, Ph.D.
Mom, Clinical Psychologist, CSUCI Adjunct Faculty
 (2022). Kiwi Farms. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwi_Farms
 Collins, B., Tenbarge, K. (2022). Anti-trans stalkers at Kiwi Farms are chasing one victim around the world. Their list of targets is growing. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/cloudflare-kiwi-farms-keffals-anti-trans-rcna44834
 Dress, B. (2022). Why anti-trans web forum Kiwi Farms was erased from the internet. The Hill.
Goforth, C. (2022). Kiwi Farms gets back online thanks to the same service that’s kept 8kun alive. Daily Dot. https://www.dailydot.com/debug/kiwi-farms-back-online-vanwatech/
Photo by Victoria Heath (https://unsplash.com/photos/MAGAXAYq_NE)
Photo by Hugo Delauney (https://unsplash.com/photos/YicAtc9n7pU)
Photo by Carolina Heza (https://unsplash.com/photos/0lD4hF1fBv0)