“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… We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused.”
PayPal landed itself in hot water big time last week after it was discovered that their updated “Acceptable Use Policy” (AUP) that was set to take effect on November 3rd included a a $2,500 fine for speech they deemed offensive or “misinformation.”
As Reclaim the Net reported at the time, though “PayPal’s clause about taking users’ funds for a violation of its rules has long been established,” they were set to “add restrictions to its acceptable use policy that go beyond illegal activities and fraud and into the realm of policing speech.”
Included in their write-up was the portion of the updated AUP specifically related to punishing speech:
The updated policy prohibits users from using PayPal for activities that:
“Involve the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials that, in PayPal’s sole discretion, (a) are harmful, obscene, harassing, or objectionable … (e) depict, promote, or incite hatred or discrimination of protected groups or of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.) … (g) are fraudulent, promote misinformation … or (i) are otherwise unfit for publication.”
In an update to this story, PayPal is now saying that they have no such policy and that the notice about the AUP update “went out in error” and “included incorrect information”:
However, when contacted by FOX Business, a PayPal spokesperson said that the Acceptable Use Policy notice went out in error and that the company will not fine users for misinformation.
“An AUP notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information,” the spokesperson said. “PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy.”
The spokesperson added that the company is in the process of updating its policy changes and apologized for any confusion.
“Our teams are working to correct our policy pages. We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused,” the spokesperson added.
JUST IN – PayPal spox on $2,500 fine: "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… We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused."
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) October 8, 2022
Visiting the page where policy updates are posted, the PDF link to the updated AUP that was originally on the page is no longer listed, and clicking on the original direct PDF link now takes you to a blank page.
The web archive versions of both, however, can be viewed here and here. As of October 7, both pages in their original form were still available for viewing on the PayPal website. So it looks like that sometime between Friday and Saturday, the pages were changed/pulled.
PayPal faced a wave of condemnations in the aftermath of the stories that were published shining sunlight on the policy changes, including from their former president, David Marcus, who called the new AUP “insanity”:
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. A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity. https://t.co/Gzf8faChUb
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) October 8, 2022
Elon Musk, who may soon be the new owner of Twitter and who was the co-founder of X.com, “which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form PayPal,” told Marcus he “agreed”:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 8, 2022
After learning of what PayPal initially planned to do, lots of people moved to close their accounts and made sure PayPal heard about it on Twitter:
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
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) October 9, 2022
Also @Venmo who is owned by Paypal. Not playing this censorship game.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) October 8, 2022
— Brian Harrison (@brianeharrison) October 8, 2022
My message to PayPal as to why I closed my account, "I will not support a company that restricts free speech and can fine/ steal cash from my account. This isn't China!"#BankruptPaypal
— Catherine Buchanan (@CBuch64) October 9, 2022
This was a trial balloon to see if Americans will tolerate a Chinese-style social credit system. Dystopian. Authoritarian. Un-American. I won’t be using @PayPal for anything ever again. https://t.co/E51mk0Iqa8
— Matt Kibbe (@mkibbe) October 8, 2022
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said on Twitter that his office would “be looking into the validity of PayPal’s new policy and taking any necessary action to stop this type of corporate activism”:
Allowing private companies to become thought police would be egregious and illegal overreach.
My office will be looking into the validity of PayPal’s new policy and taking any necessary action to stop this type of corporate activism.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) October 9, 2022
Because PayPal claimed the notice “went out in error” and contained “incorrect information,” some quipped that maybe PayPal should fine itself:
So will PayPal deduct $2,500 from itself? https://t.co/SYxGiDAUdH
— Sharyl Attkisson🕵️♂️ (@SharylAttkisson) October 9, 2022
PublicSq CEO/founder Michael Seifert used the opportunity to promote his app, which helps conservatives and other independent-minded people find companies that aren’t woke. “Find a freedom-loving payment processor on our app,” he tweeted:
PayPal showed us their true colors. They will steal your money if you disagree with them.
This is why I created @officialpsq and why we've become the largest network of patriotic businesses in America.
Find a freedom-loving payment processor on our app.https://t.co/Hw1XckQ0nh
— Michael Seifert (@realmichaelseif) October 8, 2022
The general sentiment I saw on Twitter from conservatives was that most didn’t believe PayPal’s claim that the updated AUP contained “incorrect information,” with the majority seeming to believe they were only changing their tunes now because they got caught.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) October 9, 2022
#BankruptPaypal no one is buying their walkback. We know what their plan is. They're just mad they got caught
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 9, 2022
Now @PayPal is backpedaling. Don't buy it.
Armies of lawyers and policy and standards people review TOS language before it's published.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 8, 2022
In any event, the good guys won in this case – for the time being anyway. But that still shouldn’t stop people from looking for alternatives to PayPal because regardless of their convenient change of heart, they’re still in the business of suppressing accounts for saying things they don’t like. They’re also committed to the whole ESG concept, “standards” that are seriously bad news in a free society.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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