In the early evening of October 16, 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide in her bedroom. Her mother, Christina Meier, found her and pronounced her dead the next day at the hospital. Meier was part of a case that was widely reported by the US media because he was the victim of cyberbullying through the old social network MySpace, a phenomenon among the young generation of the 2000s.
The spread of the Internet, access to various electronic devices, and the amount of hours young people spend on social media, especially Instagram and Facebook, have skyrocketed cyber harassment over the years.
(Source: Moore Media/Getty Images)
Security Org surveyed parents of children between the ages of 10 and 18 and found that 21% of children had been exposed to cyberbullying. In January 2020, 44% of all internet users in the US claimed to have experienced online harassment, with a higher prevalence of name-calling at 37%.
Among all social networks surveyed, YouTube users are the most likely to experience cyberattacks, with 79% of cases, followed by Snapchat (69%), TikTok (64%) and Facebook (49%). Researchers found that as a child’s age increases, in two-year intervals, the likelihood of an attack increases by 2%.
Since 2008, suicidal thoughts and attempts among teenagers have doubled, with 1 in 20 committing suicide in one year. This is the highest rate in almost 20 years. The culture of hatred and persecution has gained so much space in the USA – which is among the 3 countries that practice online harassment the most – that the so-called Kiwi farmsan online community that directs its users to harass the target in any way possible.
Worst place on the internet
From 4chan to Tumblr, Kiwi is surely the only community actively fighting to keep the moniker “worst place on the internet”. Founded on February 4, 2013 by Joshua Conner Moon, Kiwi has become known for harboring “internet rats”, i.e. political and religious extremists, xenophobes, racists, conspiracy theorists and other types of people.
Kiwi Farms has become a site specializing in targeting minorities, women, feminists, journalists, “neurodivergents”, celebrities and internet personalities. Targeted topics range from mass and ordered online harassment and stalking by fanatical users, to physical attacks or material beyond computer and mobile screens.
ON mode of operation forum begins, in principle, with the publication of personal data of its victims, the practice of the so-called doxxing, which includes name, address, home phone, place of work, income and financial information. For this, a real task force is organized that infiltrates various aspects of a person’s life, including stalking, with the aim of discovering interesting information that is not available on the Internet, and which is sometimes only accessible through hacker attacks.
Joshua Moon. (Source: JoshNull/Wikimedia Commons)
With this, the victims are sitting in the defendant’s chair of a real Internet court, with fabricated crimes, forgeries, false reports (swatting), legally damaging him so that he loses at least his job or freedom. Then the sights can be turned on friends and family, and there is no rest. Some Kiwi Farm campaigns can last months or years, prompting victims to take their own lives to end it all.
In August this year, TwitchCam streamer and trans activist Clara Sorrenti was forced to flee to Canada after Kiwi users called in a fake bomb threat to her home, prompting police to seal off a block in her neighbourhood.
That same month, Sorrenti, known online as Keffals, was attacked, arrested and held for more than 10 hours after her identity was stolen after someone sent an email in her name threatening a mass bomb attack on local politicians. For her safety, she was forced to move out of the house and live in a hotel, but not for long.
Your trolls managed to identify her location by hacking her Uber account and releasing more information, causing her to flee to Belfast, Ireland. Despite all this persecution, Sorrenti has not remained silent and has used his platform to promote a campaign to destroy Kiwi Farm, which receives up to 16,000 daily submissions, with the aim of attacking the companies that keep the site operational.
Clara Sorrenti. (Source: Keffals/YouTube)
Very different from other platforms that have strict content moderation practices to prevent this type of behavior from spreading unchecked online, as an independent website, Kiwi Farms is inaccessible, which worries the authorities.
“This sort of thing could easily become a database for targeting FBI agents, for example. It wouldn’t be difficult,” warns Frederick Brennan, who collaborated with Kiwi’s founder and founded the website 8chan. In an interview with NBC newsthe expert believes that harassment techniques can be channeled to larger targets, such as politicians and security agents.
After her website was taken over by white nationalism and extremism of all colors, Brennan has spent the past few years trying to take it down, fearing that the monster it has become could pose significant national security risks. “What Moon is doing is worse, because he’s actually targeting certain people,” he said.
(Source: Le Monde/Reproduction)
When asked by a journalist from NBCMoon responded by email that “the press is scum,” ignoring other questions from reporters.
According to Brennan, Moon, as the moderator and leader, represents the top of the food chain at Kiwi Farms, responsible for deciding who to target and how to attack them. Unlike other forums like 4chan, where administrators have little guidance on their users’ harassment campaigns, Moon has complete control over every aspect of the site.
at least one win
(Source: Moore Media/Getty Images)
Following Sorrenti’s rebellion and widespread media coverage on September 3rd, Cloudflare, which provides a content delivery network, internet security services and domain name server, decided to block Kiwi Farms.
The forum went on a desperate search for other infrastructure services to stay online, but several declined, such as the Russian DDoS-Guard host. Moon stated that he no longer sees a scenario in which his site is permanently operational, as it has even been removed from the Internet Archive.
As an interim measure, Kiwi Farms has found a home with Vanwa Tech, which has a history of providing structure to sites that have already been banned. While it may appear that Kiwi will never fully collapse, Sorrenti was optimistic about the loss of the ability to buy basic internet services, showing how Moon’s megalomaniac venture is becoming increasingly impotent.
In any case, she saw this as a victory, both for those who had already died by suicide, victims of the disturbing Kiwi farm culture, as was the case with Lizzy White, and for the names those people will consider in future campaigns, which make attacks. to play off his obsession with a false and pathetic sense of control and power.