Cloudflare responds to criticism over relationship with far-right websites

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Cloudflare has suggested it will continue to provide its services to websites that may host “reprehensible” content, despite controversy around the company’s ongoing relationship with troll forum Kiwi Farms.

Although the CDN and DNS provider declined to name the forum, which is widely known for harassing marginalized social groups, a new blog post addresses the issue indirectly, offering a rationale for continuing to provide security services to sites reported as offensive. 

In the past, the company has terminated relationships with customers seen to have a negative impact on broader society, including a neo-Nazi troll website in 2017 and consipiracy theory forum 8chan in 2019.

Uptime for troll sites 

According to Cloudflare, although some websites may host abhorrent content, it is not the correct approach to withhold security services, which have effectively become an essential internet utility.

“Just as the telephone company doesn’t terminate your line if you say awful, racist, bigoted things, we have concluded in consultation with politicians, policy makers, and experts that turning off security services because we think what you publish is despicable is the wrong policy,” Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO, and Alissa Starzak, Vice President, Global Head of Public Policy of Cloudflare, wrote in the blog post.

“To be clear, just because we did it in a limited set of cases before doesn’t mean we were right when we did. Or that we will ever do it again.”

The blog post also mentions Cloudflare’s acceptable hosting policy, which gives the firm the right to remove or disable access to content that it believes contains displays, distributes, or encourages the creation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), or promotes the exploitation of minors.

The company will also take action against websites that infringe on intellectual property rights, sites that have been determined by appropriate legal process to be defamatory or libellous, amongst other examples of that nature.

Since Cloudflare’s announcement, some of its users have expressed their frustration on Twitter, with a few choosing to migrate their sites to a new hosting provider. 

TechRadar Pro has reached out to Cloudflare for a comment, but the company is yet to respond.

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