PayPal Partners with Anti-Defamation League to Research Financial Pipelines of ‘Extremist’ Groups

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PayPal Holdings Inc, the online payments-system company, is partnering with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the nongovernmental activist organization, to expose the financial pipelines and transactions of extremist and hate movements that support their criminal operations.

The ADL’s Center on Extremism will conduct the probe to identify and research the revenue streams providing monetary support to “extremist and anti-government organizations” as well as “actors and networks spreading and profiting from all forms of hate and bigotry against any community,” according to the ADL press release. The ADL’s mission originally focused on countering anti-Semitism and hate directed toward the Jewish people, but its scope has expanded significantly in recent years.

Neither PayPal nor the ADL have yet confirmed what criteria will be used to determine what qualifies as a “hate group.”

“All of us, including in the private sector, have a critical role to play in fighting the spread of extremism and hate. With this new initiative, we’re setting a new standard for companies to bring their expertise to critical social issues,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We have a unique opportunity to further understand how hate spreads and develop key insights that will inform the efforts of the financial industry, law enforcement, and our communities in mitigating extremist threats.”

Through the program, the ADL and PayPal will also team up with other “civil rights partner organizations,” such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), to investigate patterns of extremism and hate perpetrated against “marginalized and vulnerable communities” and defend them from it.

“I applaud PayPal and the ADL for joining forces to combat hate and extremist movements who seek to utilize financial platforms to bankroll their criminal activities and profit from the spread of racism and bigotry,” Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance Jr. told the ADL. “My office stands ready to assist financial institutions and businesses of all kinds in this urgent fight to stop hate and protect members of historically marginalized communities.”

PayPal’s has leveraged its technology before to combat societal problems. The company has a relationship with the Polaris Project to curb human trafficking through a joint Financial Intelligence Unit. In 2020, PayPal joined forces with Northeastern University and the University of Chicago Crime Lab to monitor the payment methods used in illegal firearm trafficking to help law enforcement decrease unlawful gun sales and violence.

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