Executives at payment processor PayPal appear to have had a change of heart after news broke about the company’s plans to impose massive financial penalties on users the platform had determined was spreading “misinformation.”
The platform, which has regularly kicked off users for their political views, said on Saturday that the fine was a mistake after the Daily Wire initially publicized it in a Friday report.
“An [Accepted Use Policy] notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information,” a PayPal spokesperson told the outlet. “PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy. We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused.”
PayPal’s initial decision motivated some, like the Daily Wire’s Candace Owens, to move their funds out of the platform.
Just moved all money I had in my PayPal account out of it. And I very must suggest you do the same.
This is serious.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) October 8, 2022
Paypal initially announced it was 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.