PayPal’s executives have empowered themselves to decide whether users of their payment platform are pushing “misinformation” and if so, to essentially steal money from them.
In the past, PayPal has regularly kicked individuals and organizations from the platform over their political views. Now, according to a report on Friday, PayPal is expanding its “existing list of prohibited activities” beginning Nov. 3, just days before the midterm elections Democrats are on pace to lose.
The changes include prohibitions on “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing” — with PayPal’s censors, of course, determining the definition of “misinformation.”
In addition, users cannot engage in “the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory” — which, again, is subject to arbitrary enforcement considering that left-wing talking heads and media types are constantly referring to conservatives in derogatory and bigoted terms without retribution.
Currently, the company’s usage policies do not mention such restrictions, The Daily Wire reported.
The outlet added that PayPal will reserve the right to make its own determinations and levy its own penalties:
Deliberations will be made at the “sole discretion” of PayPal and may subject the user to “damages” — including the removal of $2,500 “debited directly from your PayPal account.” The company’s user agreement contains a provision in which account holders acknowledge that the figure is “presently a reasonable minimum estimate of PayPal’s actual damages” due to the administrative cost of tracking violations and damage to the company’s reputation.
“Under existing law, PayPal has the ability as a private company to implement this type of viewpoint-discriminatory policy,” Aaron Terr, a senior program officer at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, explained to the outlet.
“Whatever motivation PayPal has for establishing these vague new categories of prohibited expression, they will almost certainly have a severe chilling effect on users’ speech. As is often the case with ill-defined and viewpoint-discriminatory speech codes, those with unpopular or minority viewpoints will likely bear the brunt of these restrictions,” Terr added.
PayPal’s adoption of its new ‘misinformation’ policy comes after the platform canceled a trio of accounts linked to Toby Young, a commentator who operates a non-profit group called the Free Speech Union. The group has come to the defense of several clients including actor and comedian Russell Brand, who recently moved his video posts from YouTube to Rumble after one of his videos was censored by the former.
The Daily Wire noted that about one-third of Free Speech Union members rely on the payment processor to handle their membership dues. The company did not give Young any reason why his accounts were suspended other than mentioning that he had breached the platform’s ‘acceptable use policy.’ Later, PayPal restored access to the accounts after being criticized by lawmakers while apologizing to Young for “any inconvenience caused,” The Telegraph reported.
“These kinds of policies are unwise, threaten free speech, and invite legal risk,” said Jeremy Tedesco, vice president of corporate engagement at Alliance Defending Freedom, in a statement to The Daily Wire. “When companies apply policies to restrict the religious speech of their customers, they could run afoul of prohibitions on religious discrimination that exist in many state and federal laws.”