Domain registrar DreamHost has given the notorious website Kiwi Farms 14 days to find a new registrar. According to the site’s creator, Joshua “Null” Moon, Kiwi Farms has already moved to a Russian registrar and he’s trying to secure another U.S. backup.
Moon started the site in 2013, billing it as a free speech haven. Since then it’s become a forum famous for being the center of internet-led targeted harassment campaigns. It hosted the video of the Christchurch massacre then refused to help New Zealand police in its investigation.
Through all this, Moon has maintained that Kiwi Farms is merely for entertainment and that companies like DreamHost and Cloudflare would be setting dangerous precedents if they took action against the site. “Despite the problems we've faced in just the recent past, and despite all the services that we've had to find replacements for over the years, DreamHost has—shockingly—been the only company to not fail in their role of providing basic Internet resources without senseless moderation for that entire time,” Moon said in a post announcing DreamHost’s request. “This was not an easy job for them, and from what I understand, DreamHost had their own customer support reply template for complaints related to our domain because the volume of complaints was numerous enough to warrant it.”
DreamHost would not confirm that it had asked Moon to find a new registrar. “I’m afraid our policy prevents us from sharing information or discussing the details of any specific, individual DreamHost customer accounts. However we can say that as a content-neutral provider, DreamHost doesn’t assert editorial control over the content of our customers’ sites or of the domain names they register.”
According to Moon’s posts, the suicide of programmer and emulation giant Near seems to have finally moved DreamHost to act. Before their death, Near had opened up to Waypoint’s Patrick Klepek about harassment they received online, including some from members of Kiwi Farms. Near told Kelepek that the harassment had caused them to have frequent panic attacks and that their life was full of “dread and worry.”
Near’s friends released an anonymously penned Google doc detailing the events that led up to Near’s death. “Kiwi Farms is relentless,” the document said. “Not to be defeated in their pursuit of utter emotional and psychological destruction, they went after who Near treasured most: their friends. Doxing some, directly harassing others, and even specifically seeking out suicidal people to target. That broke Near.”
Moon has denied that Kiwi Farms had anything to do with Near's death. In the aftermath of Near's death, however, Kiwi Farms was subject to a series of DDoS attacks and renewed attention on the site.
Moon has long refused to moderate Kiwi Farms and claims the whole thing is for entertainment. “It is a lighthearted discussion forum that exists to talk about people. It's not a Jigsaw-esque torture chamber to teach people the value of life,” Moon said in a post about Near’s death. “It's Internet nerds gossiping about their favorite e-celebs. It's catty women talking about fat girls on YouTube. Sometimes, it's even anime avatars talking about vtubers.”
When reached for comment, Moon sent the message “lmao.”
Cloudflare did not immediately respond to Motherboard's request for comment.