The Growing Fight Against Censorship on the Web
In 2017 Cloudflare, the world’s largest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack protection provider, decided to withdraw all services from a website they didn’t agree with politically. Their company didn’t operate in a vacuum, as every big tech provider collectively censored that website, making it impossible for them to host their content anywhere on the Internet. Recently, Cloudflare decided to do the same thing to Kiwi Farms1, days after releasing a statement about their policies and “avoiding an abuse of power2.” Cloudflare not only dropped Kiwi Farms as a customer, but put up a custom error page defaming them. Kiwi Farms released a statement saying Cloudflare was lying about the entire affair3, but were unable to keep their website up after being forced to switch DDoS providers. Wikispooks, a comprehensive wiki about three-letter-agencies, went down around this same time period as well4.
The types of censorship we are seeing right now is not unprecedented. We’ve seen countless amounts of censorship in the past few years, surrounding everything from COVID-19 and doctors to election fortification to corruption involving the son of Former Vice President Biden. This level of censorship should terrify everyone. In the case of Kiwi Farms, the censorship appears to be specifically due to pressure from a trans-activist who openly advocates for giving children prescription hormones without parental consent.
In July, a transgender male-to-female named Keffals posted a tweet about helping minors transition; acknowledging that others would consider this behavior “grooming5”. The lawyer and live streamer Nick Rekieta posted this reaction to the tweet, stating that if Keffals tried to trans his children, Rekieta would “trans-life you.”
Rekieta has been the subject of several suspensions by YouTube, and he’s stated his channel is under constant attack6. His most recent suspension may have been related to Keffals, or it may have been because he was about to cover the Alex Jones trial. Rekieta has also covered how Marjorie Taylor Greene was manipulated into taking a stance against Kiwi Farms, going against her consistent positions on liberty and speech; aligning herself with “a leftist lunatic [Keffals] who is mad at Kiwi Farms for exposing their grooming of children7.”
There is a disturbing trend of left-wing and trans activists, who have openly professed how they intend to help minors transition with sex hormones. They often supply these prescription drugs without the knowledge of their parents. Blaire White covered how Eli Erlick, in a now deleted post, advertised sending out prescription drugs to people around the country, in response to states that are seeking to ban such treatments for minors8.
Hacker News did have a thread on the banning of Kiwi Farms by Cloudflare9, which mostly sided with Cloudflare disappointingly. They also covered the response statement by Kiwi Farms10, in which many comments acknowledged the coordinated campaign against Kiwi Farms, and what it means for a free Internet. I only know about these posts because a friend sent them to me. I never visit Hacker News on my own, because they still shadow ban my website while allowing a post linking directly to Kiwi Farms10.
The Internet Archive’s Book Burning
The coordinated campaign against Kiwi Farms has even lead to the Internet Archive excluding Kiwi Farms from their search results1112. It’s sad to see that an organization dedicated to archiving a large amount of the Internet history, has submitted to the views of a mob. Removing Kiwi Farms from their search now makes it more difficult for people to read and independently evaluate what they are being told by other sources. It’s effectively erasing the past, and a form of book burning.
A Reprieve from the Courts
In September, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas law that prevents banning or censoring users based on viewpoint discrimination13. Although the law applies to Texans, being upheld by a Federal court is a huge win for all Americans. Major tech publications seem to have lost their minds by misrepresenting the ruling. Techdirt stated the ruling removed the 1st amendment rights of website owners14. We are living in a world where technology companies and their advocates are stating that censoring content is actually a form of freedom. It’s literally Orwell’s freedom is slavery mantra from 1984.
Technology companies have hidden behind the provisions of section 230, which was intended prevent content hosting companies from being liable from user generated content. It’s now being used for indiscriminate censorship by websites with insane reach, that are openly hostile to smaller websites. Upholding the Texas law doesn’t prevent a platform from editorializing user generated content with meaningless fact-checks, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Ultimately, individuals need to learn how to explore the Internet the way we once did in the 90s, and embrace technological solutions to censorship. People need to turn away from the large platforms that increasingly offer nothing of value.
How Do We Route Around Censorship?
Wikispooks is thankfully back online. They provide an easy means for anyone to download backups of their entire wiki15. People who have the space and know how to archive data, should make regular backups of their wiki in the same way people should regularly backup their cloud and social media data. However, as I was writing this post, Rekieta’s account was terminated on October 5th for violating YouTube’s community guidelines. Some courts and legislatures around the country are making amazing strides to ensure the freedom of viewpoints and to restore our basic freedom to speak. But for ever step forward, we are inundated with big tech censorship trying to silence every dissenting opinion at every opportunity.
The freedom of speech is one of the most important and most fundamental freedoms that sets America apart from the rest of the world. It is also a freedom that has come over constant attack since its inception. In every decade and generation, we can find examples where governments, and the powerful, attempt to constraint every new and revolutionary mechanism of communication. From the printing press, to radio, to the Internet, every once free and accessible medium has been captured and constrained to promote a unified and directed message16.
“The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it” -(various; unknown)
We must not lose heart. You are not alone. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Right now, we need to be very watchful against the constant onslaught of censorship that’s intended to guide the way people think and live. The Internet has more bandwidth than any previous communication medium, even as the big tech oligarchs convince the masses that it is small, constrained and consists of very few websites and platforms.
Blocking Kiwifarms. 3 September 2022. Pirnce. Cloudflare. ↩
Cloudflare’s abuse policies & approach. 31 August 2022. Prince. Starzak. Cloudflare Blog. ↩
Matthew Prince lied 4 September 2022. Kiwi Farms. Archvive ↩
The Wikispooks site has been taken down by legal threat to its domain host. Its editor, my fellow ex British diplomat Patrick Haseldine, says it is over the entry on Tracy Twyman, her investigation into Hollywood paedophilia and her subsequent death. Streisand effect time…. 2 September 2022. @CraigMurrayOrg (Tweet) ↩
the scum of the earth might call me a groomer for it, but if a minor approaches me and asks me how to transition i will point them to resources to help them do it. i’m gonna transgender your children try to stop me bitch. 27 July 2021. Keffals. Tweet. (Deleted) Archive Mirror. ↩
My Channel is Under Attack: How YouTube is Caving to a Perpetual Victim and Serial Liar. 15 September 2022. Rekieta Law. Mirror ↩
How Marjorie Taylor Greene is Being Manipulated Into Censorship. 24 August 2022. Rekieta Law. Mirror ↩
Exposing Eli Erlick: Trans Predator - w/ Leaked Texts, DMS. 15 August 2022. Blaire White. ↩
Blocking Kiwifarms. 3 September 2022. Hacker News. ↩
Kiwi Farms response to CloudFlare. 4 September 2022. Hacker News. ↩ ↩2
Kiwi Farms has been removed from the Internet Archive. The archives of all the threads of people made on Kiwi Farms are gone.. 6 September 2022. @keffals screenshot ↩
Kiwi Farms has been scrubbed from the Internet Archive. 7 September 2022. Robertson. The Verge. ↩
U.S. appeals court rejects big tech’s right regulate online speech. 17 September 2022. Trotta. Reuters. ↩
5th Circuit Rewrites A Century Of 1st Amendment Law To Argue Internet Companies Have No Right To Moderate. 16 September 2022. Masnick. Tech Dirt. ↩
Wikispooks:Site Backup. Retrieved 6 October 2022. ↩
Human Lobotomy - Save the internet. 5 January 2007. marshwong. ↩