Sunday, September 4, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Cloudflare Blocks Kiwi Farms

Ernesto Van der Sar:

For years, Cloudflare had a policy not to remove any accounts without a court order, so when it kicked out Daily Stormer and later 8Chan as well, eyebrows were raised. For example, copyright holders wondered why the company could terminate these accounts but not those of the most notorious pirate sites.

Cloudflare’s seemingly arbitrary termination choices were repeatedly cited in policy discussions and copyright litigation. In addition, it triggered an ongoing wave of termination requests.

Over the past few days, Cloudflare found itself in the midst of a ‘cancel’ discussion again, with people calling on the company to disconnect the harassment-linked forum Kiwi Farms.

Cloudflare (Hacker News):

Some argue that we should terminate these services to content we find reprehensible so that others can launch attacks to knock it offline. That is the equivalent argument in the physical world that the fire department shouldn’t respond to fires in the homes of people who do not possess sufficient moral character. Both in the physical world and online, that is a dangerous precedent, and one that is over the long term most likely to disproportionately harm vulnerable and marginalized communities.

[…]

Since those decisions, we have had significant discussions with policy makers worldwide. From those discussions we concluded that the power to terminate security services for the sites was not a power Cloudflare should hold. Not because the content of those sites wasn’t abhorrent — it was — but because security services most closely resemble Internet utilities.

[…]

While we believe we have an obligation to restrict the content that we host ourselves, we do not believe we have the political legitimacy to determine generally what is and is not online by restricting security or core Internet services. If that content is harmful, the right place to restrict it is legislatively.

Matthew Prince (Hacker News):

We have blocked Kiwifarms.

[…]

This is an extraordinary decision for us to make and, given Cloudflare’s role as an Internet infrastructure provider, a dangerous one that we are not comfortable with. However, the rhetoric on the Kiwifarms site and specific, targeted threats have escalated over the last 48 hours to the point that we believe there is an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life unlike we have previously seen from Kiwifarms or any other customer before.

[…]

While law enforcement in these areas are working to investigate what we and others reported, unfortunately the process is moving more slowly than the escalating risk.

[…]

Hard cases make bad law. This is a hard case and we would caution anyone from seeing it as setting precedent. The policies we articulated last Wednesday remain our policies. For an infrastructure provider like Cloudflare, legal process is still the correct way to deal with revolting and potentially illegal content online.

Previously:

Update (2022-09-04): Nick Heer:

It is unclear to me what threats, specifically, prompted Cloudflare to reverse its de facto support of Kiwi Farms’ worldwide availability.

Kiwi Farms:

Cloudflare’s decision to block the site was done without any discussion. The message I’ve received is a vague suspension notice. The message from Matthew Prince is unclear. If there is any threat to life on the site, I have received no communication from any law enforcement.

Josh Moon, Kiwi Farms owner (via Hacker News):

This seems to be based off one of two things[…] A post made on 4chan’s /pol/ with a picture taken outside an apartment in Ireland which references the forum.

[…]

This means that a community with 16,000 daily sign-ins is being punished for the behavior of a single user, or a person not even on our website.

[…]

The post by @Washizu Iwao was posted at 9:42pm EU time. It was reported seven times. The user was also banned. […] The user deleted the post himself with the reason “retarded” 14 minutes after it had been posted, and 2 minutes after #DropKiwiFarms tweeted about it, as outlined here.

[…]

This person is not an active member of the community. This appears to be a sleeper account someone had gotten access to in July, and kept on hand to use like this.

Mike Rockwell:

Given that Cloudflare made this decision because they believed there to be an imminent threat and the seeming reluctance they had in doing so, I’m curious if this is even a permanent suspension. It isn’t mentioned as such in Cloudflare’s statement, they only refer to this move as “blocking”. If the illegal content is removed from the forum and Kiwi Farms cooperates with law enforcement — at least to the extent required by law — will the suspension be lifted?

Update (2022-09-09): Emma Roth (Slashdot):

Concerns about Kiwi Farms grew after transgender YouTuber and Twitch streamer, Clara Sorrenti (Keffals), had been targeted by a dangerous harassment campaign by users from the site. Last month, Kiwi Farms users waged a swatting attack against Sorrenti, otherwise known as the act of providing a false tip to police that someone’s planning on carrying out a violent crime, resulting in police swarming the victim’s home.

Sorrenti later went into hiding and started a #DropKiwifarms campaign that urged Cloudflare to stop serving Kiwi Farms. Users across Twitter shared the hashtag, also with some revealing the harassment they’ve experienced at the hand of Kiwi Farms’ users.

[…]

A report from New York Magazine called Kiwi Farms “the biggest community of stalkers,” with harassment so severe that the site has been blamed for the deaths of several victims.

Kevin Beaumont (via Hacker News):

Kiwi Farms is down across all domains as their Russian DDoS provider terminated them as a customer.

Keffals (via Hacker News):

Kiwi Farms has been removed from the Internet Archive.

Casey Newton:

And so Cloudflare, inconvenient as it is for the company, has become a legitimate pressure point in the effort to stop these harassers from threatening or committing acts of violence. Yes, Kiwi Farms could conceivably find other security providers. But there aren’t that many of them, and Cloudflare’s decision to stop services for the Daily Stormer and 8chan really did force both operations further underground and out of the mainstream.

[…]

And while we’re on the subject of complicity, it’s notable that for all its claims about wanting to bring about an end to cyberattacks, Cloudflare provides security services to … makers of cyberattack software!

Megan Farokhmaneshcul:

It appears that, for now, it has found a home with VanwaTech, which also provided services to Daily Stormer and 8kun (formerly 8chan) after their respective Cloudflare bans.

Sorrenti acknowledged that Kiwi Farms may never fully be offline, in the same way that 8chan and Daily Stormer have persisted. But she notes that once a site loses the ability to purchase basic web services from content delivery networks and web security companies, they become “completely impotent” in spite of the extreme lengths they can go to in order to nominally stick around. Whether or not Kiwi Farms has been completely removed, Sorrenti said, “is irrelevant to the fact that the goals of our campaign have not only been achieved, but have achieved more than we could have ever expected.” Kiwi Farms has lost its access in the visible parts of the web.

33 Comments

"It is unclear to me what threats, specifically, prompted Cloudflare to reverse its de facto support of Kiwi Farms’ worldwide availability"

I don't get it. If you're paying so little attention, why comment on this at all?

"Cloudflare’s decision to block the site was done without any discussion"

This has to be one of the most blatant lies I've ever heard.

(The actual reason Cloudflare has taken this decision is most likely that they've started seeing extremely bad PR, and possibly even financial repercussions, during the past few days. I seriously doubt they've suddenly started caring about people's lives, after they haven't given a shit for years now. The only difference is that the media has started reporting on this, despite the fact that this has likely put journalists into considerable personal danger.)

“I don't get it. If you're paying so little attention, why comment on this at all?”

The same goes to you. Do you have any idea of the actual situation? There is no illegal content on the website, otherwise a court order would have been made and the police involved. Clearly you’re either misinformed and riding bandwagons or purposefully being dense for the sake of whittling away free speech.

“This has to be one of the most blatant lies I've ever heard.”

Rich coming from you and your ilk. YWNBARW

Put this in college textbooks as an example of how to do the wrong thing with aplomb. Everyone saw the effects of Cloudflare’s nonsensical comparison of itself to a public utility except Cloudflare itself. Another company that’s too big and too arrogant to understand the human cost of its non-decisions, brought to its senses only when the PR toll was so great as to brand them indefinitely. They finally did the obvious thing they should’ve done years ago, but no one watching will forget, and hopefully the competition pounces (until, of course, it too becomes too big an arrogant to do the right thing one day).

@Plume So you’ve seen the deleted posts and think their specific contents were well publicized? Are they archived somewhere? Or are you referring to stuff that happened off-forum?

What evidence do you have that there was discussion between Cloudflare and Kiwi? One of the curious omissions in Prince’s posts was any mention of such discussion or any indication that Cloudflare asked Kiwi to remove something and they declined.

@Plume I am familiar with the general threats that I believe ought to have provoked a suspension, which are among the kind of threats I have seen on Kiwi Farms for several years. Cloudflare did not cite anything specific, though, and KF has hosted pretty heinous posts for years.

I agree with you that Cloudflare making the decision now was likely prompted by bad PR. That is the point I was trying to make — it had every opportunity to discontinue its relationship with such a terrible website and didn't until a public campaign put it in the spotlight.

Yeah, my point in that juxtaposition was that Heer and Moon are on opposite sides regarding the ban, yet they nevertheless agree on the lack of specificity. So, as you both say, I think this points to the tipping point being an accumulation of bad PR rather than the more principled distinction that Cloudflare is now trying to draw. (“We are also not taking this action directly because of the pressure campaign.”)

> Cloudflare did not cite anything specific

That's true, I apologize. I misunderstood the point you were making.

I do, however, think that it is pretty clear what the specific threats were. It was the campaign against Keffals that was organized on Kiwi Farms. She was swatted on August 5th. After that, she moved to a hotel, but the hotel's location was posted to Kiwi Farms. She then moved again twice, while Kiwi Farms was again used to organize attempts to discover her new location. She then moved from Canada to Northern Ireland, where another swatting attempt was made against her on August 31. At that point, more and more reporters started to cover this story (e.g. NBC's Ben Collins). Then, on September 3, Cloudflare terminated Kiwi Farms' services.

"What evidence do you have that there was discussion between Cloudflare and Kiwi?"

None, but this has been a topic of contention for years and years now. It is just not plausible to me that there has been zero communication, and that all of this came as a huge surprise to everybody.

The Internet contains tons of wrong information, propaganda, and just pure evil stuff.
Multiple wars are going on, and aggressors have sites discussing the benefits of wars and arguing for more killing, basically murder and destruction, on a grandiose scale.
That stuff results in multiple deaths, I mean tens or hundreds of thousands of lives.

In that context, concentrating on one posted photo and changing the company's rules seems childish. The world is big and immensely complex. Many ideas are dangerous; some seem horrible at the time but brilliant later, and it's rarely apparent.

We either have the open internet or politically divided pockets of white-listed stuff.
Cloudflare should not make those decisions; lawmakers or courts should decide and issue orders.

"some seem horrible at the time but brilliant later"

I'm genuinely trying to figure out how this concept could possibly apply to people getting swatted, stalked, and threatened to the point where they commit suicide, but I'm failing.

"That stuff results in multiple deaths, I mean tens or hundreds of thousands of lives."

You're not helping your point.

@Dmitri
It's perfectly possible for Cloudflare to stop hate speech whilst others try to create world peace in their own way. Just because children are beaten to death by their own parents, doesn't mean we can't try and stop lesser evils.

WRT courts, laws etc I agree with your point, society should be superior to the whims of platform owners.

@Dmitri Zdorov This is the most disingenuous thing I’ve ever read in these comments, but please do explain what is misunderstood and possibly brilliant about harassment.

This isn’t a slippery slope or a change in rules (Cloudflare has ceased to do business with bad actors before). This isn’t some threat against the larger open web. It’s punishment for a group of people whose only intention is to do harm. You’re making it more complicated than it is, just as Cloudflare itself did, and that’s the most charitable way I can look at your comment.

Cloudflare is not a government. They do not control a military, they do not have a monopoly on legal violence. It’s not possible for Cloudflare to censor anybody. It is, however, possible for Cloudflare to choose not to do business with a customer whose entire goal is to coordinate vicious harassment campaigns against some of the most vulnerable in society. They just want to conflate that issue with one of free speech because it conveniently means they get to make the most money possible, even if it means collaborating with abhorrent people. They say it would 'set a dangerous precedent', but it won’t, because Cloudflare *is not a court of law*. The only people bemoaning this decision are reprehensible transphobes, and straight white tech company owners who are concerned that their profits may be impacted by the public asking them to develop the smallest fragment of a moral backbone and think about the repercussions of their actions.

I do think that private companies can and should be able to deny business to any of their customers. Thus Cloudflare can stop their dealings with Kiwi Farms.

However, today, private companies control many more aspects of life than ever before. To the extend that it might threatens the progress, rule of law and principles of democracy. If we, as a society want to progress we should not encourage arbitrary decisive acts of private companies that can have long lasting negative effect.

Bad sites, that cause harm do exist. Many of those sites are customers of Cloudflare. Singling out one or two is not helpful because it creates cracks in the democracy and that in turn cause much more harm. Maybe it looks inhumane, but there is a bigger picture. The context matters. Portraying Kiwi Farms as more dangerous that numerous other places is lacking the context.

Maybe it is a right move, but then they should pull the plug on many more of their current customers. Other internet giants might follow them. There is not obvious line where it can stop. We all know that if left unchecked it can lead to draconian censorship and that will give rise to more dictatorship, to rule by law, deeper political divisions and punishment of any ideological decent.

Absolute garbage, Dmitri. We have existed for centuries being able to figure out where these lines are. It isn't difficult to discern. Taking power away from targeted harassers is not a slippery slope toward draconian censorship and I truly cannot stand people who hide behind this nonsense. Done wasting my time on you because you are totally hopeless.

Cloudflare has proven themselves unreliable. "We're cutting service just this one time" is happening more frequently now.

If a competitor or troll posts something horrific to my site and alerts Cloudflare, I don't want to worry about CF rescinding service. They've proven themselves susceptible to Social DDOS.

If I willingly host unpopular opinions (which is increasingly easy these days), it's not "infrastructure" if I have to worry about it being cancelled.

Losing CDN and attack mitigation out of the blue is different from never having it to begin with. Why would I build anything and use CF if that's always a looming threat?

Hammer are you seriously unable to differentiate the line between unpopular opinion and a forum that encourages people to dox and send SWAT teams to people's houses? It is not "increasingly easy" to not know the difference. If you're so inept at moderation and social intelligence that you cannot prevent people from driving others to suicide on your platform, then maybe hosting a platform just isn't for you.

@Billy What are your thoughts on Moon’s statement that the straw that apparently broke the camel’s back was a case where the moderation did work about as well as could be expected? Is he lying?

Not lying, perhaps, but his Facebook/Christchurch whataboutisms and other tangents read hollow. And moderation working in this instance isn’t terribly meaningful on the back of years upon years of kf grooming a community that largely sees no harm in the content that preceded that moderated post and even the post itself. As Moon himself said, 16000 people sign in daily. 7 reports in a half hour doesn’t impress me.

Mostly I think Prince is lying. That post wasn’t the fatal straw, it was simply a useful scapegoat after the PR heat got too hot for Cloudflare, which is a business at the end of the day. Businesses don’t like bad press and lost money, and this was truly miserable press, so Cloudflare did what companies do when they can’t contain the heat anymore, and reversed course after the damage was already done. Their handling of the whole situation — the blocking and the hemming and excuses beforehand — is an embarrassment. But that doesn’t mean this represents any kind of new front in some imagined war on free speech. It just means they had an easy decision to make, years ago, and bungled it badly.

@Billy

> are you seriously unable to differentiate…

If 'infrastructure' can cancel you, it's not infrastructure, it's gatekeeping. Losing service due to screeching Twitter mobs is not value.

Illegal content is a question for the legal jurisdiction and the parties involved. The only time an infrastructure provider should stop service is if they get a legally binding notice (cease and desist, warrant, etc.) and only for the specific content in question. Nuke protection / CDN / services of the specific content, not the account (unless legally ordered).

> It is not "increasingly easy" to not know the difference

Sounds like you don't post any opinions controversial to your platform owners. Must be a cozy box.

> …prevent people from driving others to suicide on your platform…

Lockdown-pushers drove many more people to suicide, but they're still platformed everywhere. Their speech was measurably more harmful. Do you think they should continue to be platformed? Their services continued?

--
I can tell we have different values. That's fine. My statement is that Clownflare is not an infrastructure company and it's foolish to rely on them in an increasingly partisan and cancel-frenzy world.

Laws made before the internet aren't designed to cope with the speed of the internet.
Swatting is attempted murder.
On-line platsforms responsibilities are definitely in dire need of a tune up. Among other things there needs to be a way to get restitution if platforms over react.

Just look at the guy who had his Google account deleted(?) for sending images to his sons doctor.

But saying that banning swatting is the beginning of the end of civil society is just silly.

"Why would I build anything and use CF if that's always a looming threat?"

If you're not going to build a website that will cause a ton of harm to a ton of people because you're afraid it might get deplatformed, I count that as a win.

"Lockdown-pushers drove many more people to suicide, but they're still platformed everywhere. Their speech was measurably more harmful"

This is such a disingenuous comparison that it, by itself, is proof that you have no actual arguments in your favor. Otherwise, you'd make them, rather than comparing society's attempt to protect vulnerable people during a pandemic to actual terrorism.

@Hammer

> The only time an infrastructure provider should stop service is if they get a legally binding notice (cease and desist, warrant, etc.) and only for the specific content in question. Nuke protection / CDN / services of the specific content, not the account (unless legally ordered).

A business's primary, legally-mandated purpose is to increase shareholder value. If "cancelling" a group ensures that they money they earn exceeds the money they lose, then they should do that. If the group so-cancelled feels bad about that, they should call for legislation to protect them.

> Sounds like you don't post any opinions controversial to your platform owners. Must be a cozy box.

Recently the Economist published an editorial briefing disputing the existence and success of gender dysphoria and gender-reassignment therapy respectively. It was a clumsy, dismally ignorant and anti-scientific -- and so controversial -- article but had no effect on its market access.

The reality is expressing controversial opinions is not difficult

In fact it's easier than it has ever been. Mainstream media in weak democracies like the US (in which Fox news and OANN are popular), Hungary and Poland provide platforms and endorsements for those calling for the oppressions of black, Muslims, Romani ("gypsy), gay, gender-dysmophic and/or Jewish people.

The problem for Kiwifarms is that its users don't want to express controversial opinions.

They want to harass and hurt people.

They have tried, repeatedly and against several people, to cause physical harm or death by calling violent armed forces to their door in the hope of a fatal accident; to cause physical harm or death by revealing their addresses to a world in which violent malcontents exists; to cause financial harm by driving them from their home and making them pay for temporary accommodation; and to cause financial harm by making it impossible for them to go about their business safely in a public marketplace, whether real or online.

They have succeeded in many cases in both impoverishing people, and have likely succeeded in causing the deaths through suicide of more than one person.

So lets stop indulging nonsense about "slippery slopes" and bad precedents: 4chan, 8chan and kiwifarms have always been open about their desire to welcome and facilitate those indulging in bigotry against women, gay people, black people, and people treated for gender-dysphoria as well as indulging interests in child pornography. Kiwifarms has defended its users who have successfully caused the death by suicide of individuals in the past: https://web.archive.org/web/20190511184633/http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/07/kiwi-farms-the-webs-biggest-community-of-stalkers.html

The individuals involved in such a campaigns of successful harassment -- and consequent terror and impoverishment -- should be jailed under harassment laws, and the organisation that freely, eagerly, and happily helps such harassers -- and is thereby an active collaborator and accessory -- should absolutely be punished and restricted by the justice system.

I do agree is absolutely not the role of companies to unilaterally dole out punishments due to perceived breaches of law the justice system has failed to pursue.

But it does still behove companies -- in order to preserve shareholder-value -- to cut ties with such organisations that might create legal or financial jeopardy through obvious as-yet-to-be-punished breaches of such laws.

And for what it's worth, I absolutely believe governments can and do successfully regulate the majority of businesses in the majority of the developed nations' polities. Even with the destructive influence of those iconoclastic ideologues that haunt US politics there have been huge improvements in gay rights, environmental protections and pharmaceutical regulation over the last 100 years as a consequence of government regulation, even if the overall upward trajectory has had dips from time to time.

Government regulation works in the majority of countries in the majority of cases: the problem in the US is an absence of regulation, not the other way around.

It's pretty obvious that more and more people in the West no longer believe in the principles of free thought that brought them wealth, and freedom, relieved most of them from the drudgery of peasantry. Instead they wish to be coddled, protected from offense. Of course they will claim to be surprised when this inevitably leads to the quality of life other societies that prevent their members from being offended enjoy.

Of course, doxxing someone is wrong. The people who did the doxing should be subject to whatever criminal proceeding applies. However the website should not be shut down or censored without court order. Freedom of speech is fundamental to the ability to innovate -- and innovation always offends some status quo.

Truly, the West is in decline. I wish these people who feel so virtuous would just go live in a country that applies their values, and perhaps, eventually, they'd realize what they are discarding out of ignorance and "well-meaning". I have.

Oh, and the mere existence of "swatting" points to a dystopic police force. That needs to be fixed, rather than simply assigning all blame to whatever idiot is misusing the fact the police in the US goes in guns blazing.

@Old Unix geek

Thank you for making an actual argument rather than "just asking questions"

My point is that you don't need death threats and doxing for a functioning open and creative society. Quite the opposite.

I'm also convinced that having private companies taking actions to block that shit is not the beginning of a slow decline into authoritarianism.

I'm also convinced that waiting for a judges order will often be too late.

@Old Unix geek

No
one
has
shut
down
or
censored
Kiwi Farms.

Refusing to do business with them is not censorship. It is simply the right of free enterprise — the very thing you describe at the very top of your old-man-yells-at-cloud speech. No government in the world has forced them offline. They've simply run afoul of perhaps every company in the world capable of keeping them online and safe from attack. But should a company arise that feels differently, nothing is stopping that company from operating, growing and from protecting KF from DDoS attacks.

For someone so protective of the west, learn the difference between free speech and free enterprise.

@Kristoffer:

I disagree with you on authoritarianism. When social media killed the NYPost story on Hunter Biden, they likely changed the results of that election. If I recall correctly there was a similar occurrence when the NYTimes sat on a story until George Bush 2 was reelected, but my memory fails me at to the details (it might have been about Abu Graib). I see the same occurring on YouTube where people who are experts in their field may not discuss certain things YouTube has decided it knows more about. I cannot see how a country in which social media is so tightly controlled can stay democratic. Similarly, those who seek to destroy the livelihoods of those who disagree with them, who try to force their views onto others, rather than convince others, are authoritarians. I believe we are much closer to the brink than you suggest.

Let's take what "Billy" here wrote as an example of the trend towards authoritarianism. It appears that he thinks he truly understands the world, and can state with certainty that the "old man yelling at the cloud" does not. However he does not even seem to realize that free enterprise cannot exist without free speech. Companies that forget this are digging their own graves. If he were to try setting up a business in China, he would learn this pretty quickly: one serves at the Chinese Communist Party's pleasure. He also doesn't seem to realize that DDoS attacks are authoritarian censorship by those who usurp the role of justice. The very fact Cloudfare exists actually shows many in the West no longer believe in discussing ideas, and letting the best argument win. Instead they wish to force their views onto others. Billy says that "companies feel"... no, they don't, they are legal fictions. He presumes that the only form of authoritarian power is governments. What twaddle. The East India Company had its own troops to quell restless natives. Corporations in the US employed paramilitaries to break up strikes, resulting in massacres such as the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado. Power is power, and it doesn't matter one iota whether it is in "private" hands or in "public hands". One is not "bad" and the other "good". (Indeed, in the US the distinction between "private" and "public" service is rather murky. Congress people legally trades on insider information. Government employees legally get "patent fees" from private companies for work done on the government dime. Not to mention the revolving door between "regulated industries" and government.) All that actually matters to people is whether coercion is applied or not, whether their freedom is impinged or not. But Billy shows himself to be a simple boy, who believes the propaganda he was taught, and doesn't think hard enough to question it. Instead he lectures others from his position of superior knowledge. The young Red Guards who got rid of the surgeons, and operated on people armed only with their patriotic fervor gained from Mao's Little Red Book operated on the same principle, during the Cultural Revolution. Needless to say, they killed their patients. The Billys of the world grease the fall of the West. They might want to contemplate that, because they'll have to live with the consequences of what their ignorance will bring.

@Old Unix geek
I'm not familiar with the NYPost Hunter Biden thing, but it sounds like a different issue than the one I'm saying won't lead to authoritarianism.

You seen to agree that doxing and swatting are bad things that should be punishable by law. I certainly do anyway.

I also know that the judicial system is too slow för new media. Once the judges order has been written, it's too late.

Therefore it's my opinion that denying service to platforms that refuse to moderate those things, and I'm not talking about writing about Hunter Biden, Im talking about doxing and swatting, is a good thing.

I agree that the militarisation of the police is a bad thing.

I agree that companies have done, and are doing, things that are just as oppressive as governments.

I agree that the Chinese state controlled all companies, but so do the US state. There's just a smidgen of red tape in the way, red tape that Apple have become masters at using to their own advantage.

The difference is that when the US decided to put the ban hammer on a company, it's usually Chinese companies, and the effects are global. See the recent ban on high end graphic card sales to China. All because the US can't compete on equal grounds. Or the nerfing of Huawei. Or the inevitable ban on TikTok.

But I'm getting sidetracked.

I still think that forums that repeatedly engage in doxing and swatting, without showing any intention of moderating themselves, can be closed down without moving society closer to authoritarianism.

The erosion of the positive narrative around the self made American dream, largely via new media, is the bigger threat. See the armed insurrection that took place not long ago.

@Kristoffer

We disagree that because "the judicial system is too slow for modern media", others should take it upon themselves to ban speech. The Catholic church would have been all too happy to successfully apply such logic to the modern media of the printed book which was how Protestantism spread like wildfire through Europe, and could have used the same argument. I'm sure they tried, but obviously they were unsuccessful. With today's tools they might have succeeded.

As to swatting, I think the gun-happy police should suffer the harsher penalties: they're the ones killing people for no good reason. The "swatter" should probably be punished for knowingly misleading the police, but ultimately the police is not supposed to be a tool that any maniac can wield, but a thinking entity.

The problem is that the law is black and white, binary logic, but the boundary between "doxxing" and not "doxxing" is to some degree a matter of intent. "My neighbor so-and-so lost her house due to arson. I'm setting up this fundraiser for her" might qualify as doxxing. That is why the courts need to argue this, rather than having private actors make arbitrary decisions, because once they start they can be and are pressured into censoring all sorts of things.

[ As to whether what happened can be called an "insurrection", we also disagree. What happened does not fit the definition of "an organized and usually violent act of revolt or rebellion against an established government or governing authority of a nation-state or other political entity by a group of its citizens or subjects." In most countries, insurrections involve the killing of relatively senior members of the government... no such thing happened in this case. So I think using that word is hyperbole, even if many people do use it. ]

Putting that aside, I do think globalization has benefited some but harmed others. Unsurprisingly those whose prospects (and life expectancy) have been curtailed aren't too happy about it. I wouldn't blame social media for that. In my book, a government needs to ensure that all its citizens have some reasonable prospects, whatever their repertoire of abilities, in order to guarantee social harmony. If there is a civil war in the US, the decision by governments to change the tax code, etc, to encourage globalization will be one of the causes.

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