CloudFlare Suspends Switter Hosting – A4 Forced To Migrate


CloudFlare Suspends Switter’s Hosting (SESTA)

Switter, the sex-worker friendly social media site that was created due to the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), has had their services suspended by CloudFlare. This has come to a surprise to many people, as CloudFlare has traditionally held a reputation for not denying services to anyone, even some very questionable customers of theirs.


Announcement From Assembly 4’s Website

Switter went offline at around 5 AM, April 18 UTC+10 due to Cloudflare removing and blocking the zone. We received an email from their Legal Department that reads:

Cloudflare has been made aware that your site is in violation of our published Terms of Service. Pursuant to our published policy, Cloudflare will terminate service to your website.

Cloudflare will terminate your service for switter{.}at by disabling our authoritative DNS.

We have asked them to point out which specific clauses we broke in their Terms but have not received a reply.

It’s possible this was an overreaction, as the last documented time Cloudflare terminated services was when they terminated the account of a white supremacist website last year.

Given Cloudflare’s previous stances of privacy and freedom, as well as fighting alongside the EFF, we had hoped they would take a stand against FOSTA/SESTA. Combined with their Websockets support (which Mastodon heavily relies on for real-time updates), as well as their free plan (CDNs are traditionally quite expensive), we selected Cloudflare to be our CDN.

Switter was down for about 7 hours due to a combination of technical factors, but we are back on another CDN provider. We apologise for the downtime.

We will update this document if we do hear back from Cloudflare.


Switter / Assembly 4 Has Switched Hosts

The team over at Assembly 4 has already switched web hosts. There was some glitches and downtime reported by people on Twitter, although it appears that CloudFlare removing their hosting and the switching to a new provider happened fairly quickly. Many people didn’t notice any downtime and were shocked to hear the news.


More Information On Switter

Switter was developed in response to SESTA passing, as well as many social media sites implementing shadow-bans on adult accounts. Switter is built on the Mastodon platform (open-source social media CMS) and hosted in Australia, where prostitution is illegal and they’re out of the United States jurisdiction. Switter behaves very similar to Twitter, and you can even connect the two services so that everything posted on Twitter also gets posted on Switter.

Learn More: Switter – Social Media for Sex Workers

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