Kiwi Farms — an online forum best known for harbouring stalkers, white supremacists, and overall being one of the worst cesspits the internet has to offer — was knocked offline temporarily on Tuesday in what the site’s operators called a paid-for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The alleged attack comes after the site was implicated in the recent suicide of Near, a beloved developer in the emulator community.
In the final Twitter thread they posted before their death, Near — who also went by Byuu, and identified as nonbinary — publicly called out Kiwi Farms for making their lifelong experience with online harassment and bullying “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,” they wrote. “The internet is not a game. It’s real life. I’m a real person. This stuff really hurts.”
Early the following morning, the security consultant (and part-time hacker) Hector “Marcan” Martin shared a heartbreaking Google document said to be written by a close friend of Near’s that explained some of the more explicit details of Near’s death. In it, the anonymous friend also calls out Kiwi Farms, noting that the site made “a sport” out of “preying on the less fortunate, on those in positions liable to being emotionally abused.” The letter also called out DreamHost and CloudFlare — the site’s domain registrar and web network security provider — for sharing responsibility in driving their friend to suicide. (Gizmodo has reached out to both companies, and will update this post when we receive a response.)
Because this is Kiwi Farms we’re talking about, the site’s operators chose to see the situation differently. During its downtime, the site splashed a lengthy rebuttal to the anonymous letter and Near’s thread on its landing page, saying that “no evidence” of any harassment towards this person exists. But again, this is Kiwi Farms, a site whose toxic community very publicly drove Portland-based game developer Chloe Sagal to kill herself back in 2018. In 2016, a Canadian woman, Julie Terryberry, ended her life after being targeted by the site. So, yeah. If Near, and Near’s close friends and confidants say that the harassment on Kiwi Farms is what ultimately drove them over the edge, it’s worth assuming they’re telling the truth.
While Kiwi Farms seems to have come back online by Tuesday afternoon, the site’s homepage notes that “service will continue to be disrupted,” until the site’s operators “can contact other providers and arrange a fix.” Hopefully that fix won’t be coming for a while.
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support or someone to talk to, contact the Lifeline Australia hotline at 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service at 1300 65 94 67 or the Kids Helpline (for ages 5-25) at 1800 55 1800.