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Can PayPal Really Fine You $2500 for “Misinformation”?

Does the firm hope to grow rich off “fines” for Incorrect opinions? This episode will do nothing to allay suspicions

Update: PayPal Value Down $6 Billion, ‘Delete PayPal’ Searches Soar 1,300% After Daily Wire Report Exposes ‘Misinformation’ Policy

In an unusual sequence of events, PayPal announced the proposal:

Courthouse with judge's gavel and sign NO. concept of censorship and the production of restrictions and laws on restriction. Anti-popular laws, usurpation of power, conservative views. Lack of justice

A new policy update from PayPal will permit the firm to sanction users who advance purported “misinformation” or present risks to user “wellbeing” with fines of up to $2,500 per offense.

The financial services company, which has repeatedly deplatformed organizations and individual commentators for their political views, will expand its “existing list of prohibited activities” on November 3. Among the changes are prohibitions on “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing.” Users are also barred from “the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.”

Ben Zeisloft, “New PayPal Policy Lets Company Pull $2,500 From Users’ Accounts If They Promote ‘Misinformation’” at DailyWire (October 7, 2022)

This would be at the sole discretion of PayPal…

Next we heard, the information had been sent out “in error”:

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.

Caroline Downey, “PayPal Pulls Back, Says It Won’t Fine Customers $2,500 for ‘Misinformation’ after Backlash” at Yahoo!/National Review (October 8, 2022)

Hmmm. It’s a pretty big error. It amounts to making PayPal a judge, jury, and police force. As a Canadian lawyer responded, “Your subjective views on ‘misinformation’ or ‘discrimination’ don’t entitle you to your clients’ money.”

And why would PayPal think it did? Does the firm hope to grow rich off “fines” for Incorrect opinions? This episode will do nothing to allay suspicions.

As Christiaan Hetzner puts it at Fortune:

Critics however didn’t appear to buy PayPal’s claims it was all just an innocent “error” that was promptly updated with the correct information…

The intense blowback will not likely be helpful for PayPal shares, which have thus far been a poor investment in 2022.

While payment services giant Visa declined by only 15% year to date, PayPal has more than halved in value.

Christiaan Hetzner, “PayPal tells users it will fine them $2,500 for misinformation, then backtracks immediately” at Fortune (October 10, 2022)

PayPal execs may wish to reflect on the short-lived and dismal history of the Disinformation Governance Board — which at least had the advantage of being a government entity, not subject to market forces.

Alternatively, perhaps PayPal is banking on the existence of a vast market that wants a private judge raiding their bank accounts whenever she senses Error! Error! in their opinions…

Otherwise, there is always the risk of competitors that rush in to offer Plain Old Internet Banking Services (POIBS) for a small fee…

You may also wish to read: U.S. shuts down its paused Disinformation Governance Board. Faced with resounding unpopularity, the Department of Homeland Security has decided that the Board is not necessary. While the reaction has been described as a “rightwing backlash,” it included pretty much anyone who did not want the government deciding what is “true.”

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Can PayPal Really Fine You $2500 for “Misinformation”?