The epic saga of disgraced registrar Epik has taken a weird twist this week, with the company appearing to do a 180 on its longstanding devotion to “free speech”, going on a Twitter rampage, sarcastically embracing “wokeness”, and ejecting one of its most controversial anchor tenants, which is now threatening to sue.
On the face of it, it seems quite possible that the company’s official Twitter account may have been compromised. So take any quotes here from @EpikLLC with a pinch of salt. There’s also a non-zero chance that the account has shared child sexual abuse material this evening, so be careful.
The current chapter of the story appears to begin in mid-December, when the owner of the web forum KiwiFarms.net — which Wikipedia says “facilitates the discussion and harassment of online figures and communities” — claimed that Epik suspended his domain for an unspecified terms of service violation.
The domain seems to have moved to Namecheap a couple of days later, where it still sits today.
A month of online drama later, earlier today the person running Epik’s Twitter account either changed, or lost their mind. This was posted this morning as the company’s pinned tweet:
— Epik LLC (@EpikLLC) January 23, 2024
DEI stands for “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” a workplace buzzword in some parts of the world, loved by some on the political left, hated by some on the right. @XJosh is KiwiFarms.net owner Josh Moon.
The content of the @EpikLLC tweet and the @EndWokeness mention suggests sarcasm. Epik has been known for the last several years for being a relatively safe home for some of the web’s most controversial content — typically sites for those with hard-right views.
After a series of tweets along the same lines, the @EpikLLC account reappeared this evening to post a screen grab apparently of a KiwiFarms.net page. The image in the tweet contained censored personal details and blurred photos of a naked male.
I won’t post the full tweet containing the image here, but the accompanying tweet text reads: “Here’s the complaint received that violated our TOS for doxxing. We believed this to be underage porn also. Regardless, Epik doesn’t want to do business with websites like this. If we misread this we apologize. Did we make the right choice in cancelling KF?”
Other Twitter users immediately pointed out that the Epik account had just shared an image it “believed to be underage porn”. Others said that the image showed a 19-year-old man rather than a child.
Moon, who goes by the handle “Null” on his web site, is currently asking his users whether they would be willing to crowd-fund a defamation lawsuit against Epik for claiming on Twitter that law enforcement had ordered the suspension of the domain and that the site hosted “child porn”. He says both claims are false.
KiwiFarms.net moved to Epik in September 2022 after its previous registrar, Cloudflare, kicked it out citing an “an imminent and emergency threat to human life” believed to relate to the targeting of a transgender Twitch streamer.
It’s not currently clear who owns or manages Epik. After a financial mismanagement scandal lasting many months, the company said last June that it had changed ownership. Contact details published by ICANN show it “belongs” to a company called Registered Agents Inc, which specializes in anonymous company formations.
ICANN said in June that it was doing due diligence on the new owners, but that the process could take several months.