Kiwi Farms, formerly known as CWCki Forums, is an American Internet forum dedicated to the discussion of online figures and communities it deems "lolcows" (people who can be "milked for laughs"). The targets of threads are often subject to doxing and other forms of organized group trolling, harassment, and stalking, including real-life harassment by users. Harassment stemming from Kiwi Farms has been implicated in the suicides of three people targeted by users of the site.
Type of site
|Available in||English, with the exception of the 'Internationale Clique' subforum for non-English discussions|
|Owner||Joshua "Null" Moon|
|Launched||February 4, 2013|
The website was originally launched as a forum website to troll and harass a webcomic artist who was first noticed in 2007 on a 4chan video game board.: 8–9 Eventually, an Encyclopedia Dramatica page was created about the artist. A dedicated wiki, titled "CWCki" based on the artist's initials, was created by people who felt that the Encyclopedia Dramatica entry was not detailed or accurate enough. Kiwi Farms was originally called "CWCki Forums"; despite containing the word "kiwi", it has no connection with New Zealand.
Following the June 2021 suicide of Near, a software developer who had been a target of harassment from Kiwi Farms users, DreamHost gave the site owner notice that they would no longer provide domain registration services. Kiwi Farms subsequently began using a Russian registrar. Shortly thereafter, it was moved to a new US-based domain registrar.
Suicides of harassment targets
Harassment campaigns by Kiwi Farms users are known to have contributed to the suicides of three individuals. The Kiwi Farms community considers it a goal to drive its targets to suicide, and has celebrated such deaths with a counter on the website.: 55, 61 They have used social media reporting systems to mass-report posts by harassment targets in which they've expressed suicidal thoughts or intentions, with the goal of reducing the possibility their targets receive help.: 91
In 2013, American video game developer Chloe Sagal became a Kiwi Farms target after Eurogamer reported Sagal's Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign had been flagged for "suspicious activity". Sagal had raised over $30,000 on the platform for metal poisoning treatment to remove shrapnel from a car accident, but Eurogamer reported that Sagal had actually intended to use the proceeds for sex reassignment surgery. Sagal later died by suicide via self-immolation on June 19, 2018, which several reports attributed to years of harassment from Kiwi Farms.
In a Twitter thread posted on June 27, 2021, Near, a pseudonymous Japan-based software developer, described lifelong bullying and harassment from Kiwi Farms users. Near said that Kiwi Farms had "made the harassment orders of magnitude worse". Near stated that they and their friends had been doxed and goaded into suicide by members of the website, and that Near had been mocked for being autistic. On June 28, Hector Martin posted a link to a Google document which he said came from a mutual friend of his and Near's, which said that Near had died by suicide, and alleged that the harassment from Kiwi Farms amounted to murder. Martin subsequently reported on June 28 that he had spoken to police who confirmed that Near had died the previous day. USA Today also reported on July 23, 2021 that they had confirmed with Near's former employer that they had died. Near had previously been known by the pseudonym "Byuu" and was most notable as the creator of SNES emulator higan, as well as for their detailed fan translation of the SNES game Bahamut Lagoon, which they worked on from 1997 to its release on February 9, 2021.
Christchurch mosque shootings
In March 2019, Kiwi Farms republished both the livestream and the manifesto of Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. Shortly after, website owner Joshua Moon publicly denied a request by New Zealand Police to voluntarily hand over all data on posts relating to the shooting, including the email and IP addresses of posters. Moon responded aggressively and mockingly, calling New Zealand a "shithole country", and stated that he did not "give a single solitary fuck what section 50 of your faggot law says about sharing your email". He deemed the request a censorship attempt and argued that New Zealand authorities "do not have the legal reach to imprison everyone who's posted [the video]". Kiwi Farms was one of several websites blocked by New Zealand internet service providers after the attack. In New Zealand, those who were caught possessing or sharing images or videos of the attack faced charges that could result in 14-year prison sentences.
In 2017, Tumblr user and young adult fiction writer Rose Christo claimed that she had authored the Harry Potter fan fiction "My Immortal", which, Christo said, she had written it in order to find her missing brother. She announced that Macmillan Publishers was publishing a memoir, Under the Same Stars: The Search for My Brother and the True Story of My Immortal, about the fan fiction's creation as well as her childhood of abuse and experiences as a Native American in the New York foster care system. A forum thread concerning Christo and discussing her claims was created on Kiwi Farms. Christo's brother, a Kiwi Farms user, responded to the thread to say that Christo's story was nearly entirely false. Claims that he took issue with included that of their Native American ancestry, their having gone to foster care, and her quest to locate him, which formed the center of the memoir. Christo then admitted that she had falsified documents supporting her story, but maintained that she had written My Immortal. Macmillan Publishers cancelled the publication of her memoir.
- "Kiwi Farms says it will shut down if Section 230 is repealed". The Daily Dot. 2020-12-07. Archived from the original on 2021-02-26. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
- Pless, Margaret (July 19, 2016). "Kiwi Farms, the Web's Biggest Community of Stalkers". Intelligencer. New York Magazine. Archived from the original on May 11, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
- Dastagir, Alia E. (July 23, 2021). "'The internet is not a game. ... This stuff really hurts.' Respected developer who was bullied online dies by suicide". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
- Baj, Lavender (July 13, 2021). "Kiwi Farms Has 14 Days To Find A New Domain Host After Being Booted Off DreamHost". Kotaku Australia. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
- Wodinsky, Shashona (June 29, 2021). "The Worst Site on the Web Gets DDoS'd After Being Connected to Prominent Developer's Suicide". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
- Wesolowski, Sébastien (May 27, 2020). "Vaches à lol: dans l'Internet qui harcèle pour s'amuser" [Lolcows: Inside the Internet which harasses for fun]. Vice (in French). Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
- Kotaku Staff (June 28, 2021). "The Brilliant SNES Emulator Author Known As Near Has Died". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 27 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- Colombo, Charlotte (August 3, 2021). "Kiwi Farms, the forum that has been linked to 3 suicides, was made to troll Chris Chan years before she was arrested on an incest charge". Insider. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
- Veale, Kevin (2020). "Gaming the Rules". Gaming the Dynamics of Online Harassment. Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-60410-3_4. ISBN 978-3-030-60410-3.
- "Kiwi Farms website refuses to help police in Christchurch terror case". Newshub. March 18, 2019. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
- Gault, Matthew (July 13, 2021). "Notorious Website Kiwi Farms Loses Its Domain Registrar". Vice. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
- Katzowitz, Josh (June 25, 2018). "Transgender game developer who'd been bullied online dies by suicide". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
- Fogel, Stefanie (June 26, 2018). "Video Game Developer Dies After Setting Herself on Fire". Variety. Archived from the original on June 8, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
- Morgan, Joe (June 29, 2018). "Bullied trans game developer dies after setting herself on fire". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
- Klepek, Patrick (2021-06-29). "What I Learned From Near, an Emulation Legend and Real Person". Vice News. Archived from the original on 2021-06-29. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
- Macgregor, Jody (June 28, 2021). "Near, creator of the higan and bsnes emulators, has died". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 30 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- Klepek, Patrick (March 8, 2021). "A 23-Year Perfectionist Journey to Localize the Obscure 'Bahamut Lagoon'". Vice News. Archived from the original on 27 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- Moher, Aidan (February 8, 2021). "After 25 years, this cult SNES game finally gets a proper English translation". Input. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- Bayer, Kurt. "Owner of notorious 8chan internet site in bid to deflect blame for role in Christchurch mosque terror attacks". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on May 4, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
- O'Neill, Marnie (March 19, 2019). "Website Kiwi Farms refuses to surrender data linked to accused Christchurch terrorist Brendan Tarrant". news.com.au. Archived from the original on March 18, 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
- "Christchurch mosque shootings: Website Kiwi Farms refuses to surrender data linked to accused". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on March 18, 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
- Rowe, Dan (March 19, 2019). "The online cesspits where hate found a home". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
- Onyanga-Omara, Jane. "New Zealand mosque shootings: Six in court on charges they sent attack images". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on 2020-10-21. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
- "Six Charged in New Zealand for Sharing Mosque Shooting Video Online". Rolling Stone. 2019-04-15. Archived from the original on 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
- Tremeer, Eleanor (October 5, 2017). "The Author Of 'My Immortal' Is A Fake And I Don't Know What To Believe Anymore". Movie Pilot. Archived from the original on October 5, 2017.
- "The 'My Immortal' mystery grows: Five new questions after the memoir's cancellation". Hypable. 2017-10-05. Archived from the original on 2021-06-28. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
- Lee, Jarry (October 3, 2017). "The "My Immortal" Book Is No Longer Going To Be Published". Buzzfeed. Archived from the original on October 5, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- Romano, Aja (2017-10-09). "The My Immortal memoir has been canceled, and the mystery of the notorious fanfic deepens". Vox. Archived from the original on 2019-08-27. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
- Lai, Catherine (2017-10-05). "Memoir of "My Immortal" Author Canceled amid Accusations of Falsehoods". MuggleNet. Archived from the original on 2019-08-27. Retrieved 2019-08-27.