How is this site legal?

How is this site legal!?

The Kiwi Farms is legal in the United States of America. Saying mean things on the Internet is not illegal. 'Doxing' is not illegal. Republishing bad art or pictures is not illegal. Taking screenshots of websites and posting them is not illegal.

This article will help dispel various misconceptions people have about criminality.

How is this site not cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a term frequently thrown around by people who do not like the Kiwi Farms.

Cyberbullying is not a federal crime, but more importantly, cyberbullying is legally defined as bullying carried out online.

"Bullying" legally means intimidation or assault that prevents, or makes people fearful of, going to school.

Unless someone on this website is your classmate or teacher, they cannot ever technically 'cyberbully' you.

How is this site not doxing?

Doxing is not a crime.

There is nothing illegal about posting a name or address. Phonebooks have been doing it for a century. In a lot of states, your voter registration information includes your name, email address, residential address, phone number, and party affiliation. This information is completely free and easily accessible on the Internet. Is that also a crime committed by the state?

You could make a lot of ethical arguments but none of them hold water. It is your sole responsibility to manage your anonymity on the Internet. You are not constitutionally guaranteed the right to be anonymous, you are only protected from unlawful government intrusion.

There is no law or right that prevents people from putting something you said to your name and picture, or by associating your name with your online handles. And no, there is no law preventing anyone from telling people what your name was before your sex change.

How is this site not stalking?

A website cannot stalk you.

The Kiwi Farms itself is a forum; a forum which has a userbase. The forum does not, by itself, scrape information and republish it. The forum does not, by itself, make claims. The site is only a standard Internet webforum that people make use of as they see fit.

As a service, it is covered by 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1), which frees the site, the company owning the site, and the people (me!) owning the company of liability for most behaviors and content posted by users of the website. Every post made on this website is the sole property of the person who made it. The Kiwi Farms retains the irrevocable right to republish content published on the site as it sees fit.

While a person could certainly use the Kiwi Farms to stalk someone, I have no way of identifying or combating that issue. It's not my job to do so. If you want to accuse a specific user of stalking, you must take them to court.

If we receive an American court order to remove content, it will be obliged.

How is this site not harassment?

See the prior answer on stalking. A website cannot commit harassment. It is not capable of doing so.

Harassment has a very specific legal definition and it mostly has to do with intimidation from a single person. If a person starts sending you letters, emails, calling your phone, visiting places you work or frequent to intimidate you or cause you distress, that is harassment.

Notice how I did not mention "saying mean things on the Internet". While it is possible saying mean things on the Internet could be a component of a person's harassment campaign, it is not possible to define harassment simply by comments made on a website. They have to be imposing themselves on your life in a tangible way you cannot remove yourself from.

A key component to if something is harassment deals with your inability to escape it. A person harassing you at your job or when you walk home every day from the bus stop is not someone you can easily avoid. You can avoid the Kiwi Farms by shutting off your computer or by not visiting the site.

Remember, this is a private website. You are in my coffee shop on the street corner and you're sitting at my table. If the person a table over is badmouthing you to his friends, you are completely free to leave my coffee shop at any time you want and are encouraged to do so.

How is this site not defamation?

See the prior answer on stalking. A website cannot commit defamation. A website does not speak or write, it republishes other people's words and claims.

The Kiwi Farms does not knowingly publish false information and we do not ever encourage users to do so. Publishing patently, factually incorrect information would hurt our site and our reliability as a discovery resource. Part of what makes us so popular, and what makes people with threads so angry, is that the overwhelming majority of the site's content is factually accurate. If the site were just complete nonsense, no one would be as bothered by having their name on it. It is that the content and claims made on the site are usually very well documented which drives people mad.

I do not pretend defamation is impossible on the Kiwi Farms. As a mostly unmoderated website completely driven by user-generated content we do not purport to own, it is feasible that someone has used it as a tool to spread misinformation. If you are a victim of criminal defamation, contact your attorney and bring charges against the appropriate party (i.e. the defamer, not the website). We obey American court orders.

This article does not replace or supersede our Terms of Service in any way.
This article is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It is not written by a practitioner of law.
If you need legal advice, contact an attorney. If you do contact an attorney, please email me and tell me how much you spent so I can laugh.