Under the Restricted Activities of Paypal's user agreement, it was listed that users violating the Acceptable Use Policy would be subject to a $2,500 fine.
The policy which would have gone into effect on November 3, 2022, read “We are expanding the existing list of prohibited activities to include the sending, posting, or publication of messages, content, or materials that meet certain criteria,” Their expanded use of limited uses was to include "activities that “involve the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials that, in PayPal’s sole discretion . . . are harmful, obscene, harassing, or objectionable.”
Despite the backlash, Paypal lost 7.9% over the course of Monday and Tuesday, analyst, Trevor Williams said he wasn’t sure that the controversy would spark a mass exodus from the PayPal platform. There was minimal social media pushback from Twitter and Facebook users. Analysts claimed that there were only 70,000 users that responded to the tweet #DeletePaypal by liking, retweeting, or responding to the tweet.
Paypal did respond to the backlash by claiming the information was released was in error, and released a statement that they reversed their plans to fine people who posted misinformation. “An [Accepted Use Policy] notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information,” a PayPal spokesperson said. “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.”
The issue is if anyone reads the original statement about how and why they would be deducting the money from their patron's accounts, does not appear to be an error. The terminology stating "Paypal may deduct such damages directly from any existing balance in any PayPal account you control was written by a legal team and not some individual disgruntled employee who controls their Terms of Service."
What is curious and possibly chilling is what exactly does PayPal deem misinformation or hate speech? Does hate speech include providing evidence that goes contrary to that which the mainstream media supports? Perhaps claiming that America is in a recession despite the change of definition the White House provided?
The fact is that if PayPal can penalize people using their services for terminology that it can change on a whim, are they acting as arbiters of truth? The definition of 'Hate Speech" is ill-defined in itself, but can swing in any direction that is fashionable at that time. This means selling T-shirts claiming "Farting Cows do not cause climate change" can result in a fine against your PayPal account. Not a great business model. Is PayPal attempting to become a police force for morality as they deem moral?
According to the Daily Wire, " “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, told The Daily Wire. “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.”
WECU brings you fact-checked information regarding decisions that affect your daily life. Whether you use PayPal or not, we feel it is important to bring to you the chilling effect of what PayPal intended to do before they received backlash on their policy to censor those people who depend upon their service. Do you think PayPal intended to fine users for what they deem as "false or misleading" information? We Want to know your opinion.
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