PayPal faced conservative backlash over the weekend for saying it would not allow its services to be used to promote misinformation. Now, the company is claiming that it was a misunderstanding.
On Saturday, conservative outlets reported that PayPal had updated its Acceptable Use Policy, stating that from Nov. 3, the company’s prohibited activities would comprise “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” promoting disinformation and hate speech or otherwise causing harm, according to screenshots saved by Mediaite. The ones in violation would be fined $2,500.
The company took the notice back over the weekend, and in a statement to Gizmodo a company spokesperson said:
“An AUP notice for the U.S. recently went out in error, including incorrect information. PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted into our policy. We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused.”
Twitter users were furious over PayPal’s initial policy update, with users mostly conflating the supposed $2,500 fine with any lies they tell on other social media platforms. Major officials like Federal Communications Commission commissioner Brendan Carr called it “Orwelian”. Further, they argued “This is why it is so vital that state and federal legislatures pass laws that prohibit discrimination by tech companies and protect free speech.”
The backlash is entirely unexpected as PayPal isn’t a social media company, and the policy was for those who actively use PayPal’s services to promote hate speech or disinformation.
A few years ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told The Wall Street Journal they were actively working to end payment services for certain companies who promote hate speech and conspiracies like Infowars and the Gab messaging platform.
Schulman said there were “those both on the right and left that help us,” mentioning the Southern Poverty Law Center which has brought certain issues to their attention, though the CEO added, “We don’t always agree. We have our debates with them.”