PayPal has backtracked on a published policy that would have fined users $2,500 for spreading “misinformation,” claiming the update had gone out “in error.”
“An AUP notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information. PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy. Our teams are working to correct our policy pages. We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused,” a spokesperson told National Review in a written statement.
The course reversal comes after the policy changes had started to attract media scrutiny as well as criticism on Twitter. Former PayPal president David Marcus even blasted the company over the implication that it could seize customers’ money for finding their views objectionable.
“It’s hard for me to openly criticize a company I used to love and gave so much to. But @PayPal’s new AUP goes against everything I believe in,” the cryptocurrency entrepreneur said Saturday. “A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity.”
Tech titan Elon Musk replied, “Agreed,” in a comment that got thousands of likes.
The policy update had appeared to authorize the company to pull a significant sum of money from the accounts of users who spread “misinformation,” among other newly listed offenses.
The new conditions were scheduled to be added to the restricted activity section of the PayPal User agreement effective November 3, the Daily Wire first reported. Changes included prohibitions on “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation.” While the prior policy already forbade “hate,” “intolerance,” and discrimination, the new one would have explicitly applied to specific “protected groups” and “individuals or groups based on protected characteristics.” Identities under this umbrella included race, religion, gender or gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The firm’s current rulebook doesn’t list these terms. It’s unclear whether PayPal will also pull back these specific prohibitions on “discriminatory” language, or if it is only scrubbing the “misinformation” clause.
Breaking the rule against misinformation and hate speech “may subject you to damages, including liquidated damages of $2,500.00 U.S. dollars per violation, which may be debited directly from your PayPal account,” the company had originally warned. In a user agreement, account holders accept and attest that the penalty is “presently a reasonable minimum estimate of PayPal’s actual damages” due to the expense the firm incurs by accounting for the violations as well as damage to its reputation.
PayPal was founded by Peter Thiel, who has invested in a number of GOP rising stars and “conservative” business ventures. Ebay acquired the company in 2002 and has managed it since. In recent years, PayPal has been known to censor or deplatform organizations or individuals for certain political commentary, particularly that which is considered right-wing.
It recently banned Gays Against Groomers, a group composed of LGBT-identifying people that claims to call attention to the sexualization and medicalization of children via gender ideology and the transgender movement. Minutes later, PayPal’s subsidiary Venmo reportedly barred the organization from access. Evolutionary biologist Colin Wright and journalist Ian Miles Cheong, who regularly expose the dangers of transgenderism for minors, have also been removed.