The story was shocking: As PJM’s Rick Moran stated Saturday, “The financial services company PayPal announced a controversial policy to deduct up to $2,500 from the accounts of users who spread ‘misinformation.’” But as the news of this astonishing plan circulated far and wide, PayPal experienced a swift backlash in the form of a blizzard of account cancellations, and quickly backed down, claiming that the announcement went out “in error” and adding: “PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy.” That’s terrific, or would be if it weren’t for the fact that PayPal’s current Acceptable Use Policy still threatens $2,500 fines per infraction for promoting “hate” and “intolerance” — language the Left regularly uses to characterize (and demonize) speech that is critical of its insane policies.
Eugene Volokh pointed out Sunday that PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy, which was last updated on Sept. 20, 2021, warns the unfortunate PayPal user that “you must adhere to the terms of this Acceptable Use Policy,” or else: “Violation of this Acceptable Use Policy constitutes a violation of the PayPal User Agreement and 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(s) as outlined in the User Agreement (see ‘Restricted Activities and Holds’ section of the PayPal User Agreement).”
Click on that “Restricted Activities and Holds” section, and you’ll find a long list of “you must nots,” including the expected prohibitions of fraud, selling counterfeit goods, and the like. But included on the list of things you must not do is “Provide false, inaccurate or misleading information.” False, inaccurate, or misleading in the eyes of whom? Why, of PayPal’s Leftist hall monitors, of course, and no one else, including the person PayPal accuses: “If we believe that you’ve engaged in any of these activities, we may take a number of actions to protect PayPal, its customers and others at any time in our sole discretion.” No one else’s. You’ll have no appeal, no recourse, no opportunity to present your side of the story.
And among the “Prohibited Activities” listed on the Acceptable Use Policy page, you’ll find forbidden “the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime.” No problem, eh? You have never engaged in or ever plan to engage in any promotion of hatred, violence, or intolerance, so you’re in the clear, right? Wrong. Leftists routinely accuse patriots of promoting hate: Wanting a secure southern border is promoting hate. Not wanting to see our schools become platforms for genuinely hateful and false race grievance propaganda is promoting hate. Disagreeing with the Leftist dogma that Islam is a religion of peace is promoting hate. Not believing that Jan. 6 was an insurrection or that Donald Trump is a traitorous Russian puppet is promoting hate.
And so what PayPal’s still-in-force Acceptable Use Policy is saying is that at PayPal’s sole discretion, it can decide to start fining wrongthinkers and taking thousands of dollars from your account for the sole reason that you don’t toe the Left’s political line. PayPal backed down on fining you for spreading “misinformation,” but few people seem to have noticed at all that it still threatens to fine you for “hate” and “intolerance.” Don’t like drag queens sexualizing primary school children? If a PayPal wonk decides that’s “intolerance,” you could be out $2,500, and remember, that’s just for one infraction alone. If you dare to express your dissent more than once, you could be in to PayPal for tens of thousands of dollars.
Can they do this? Will they do this? That depends on who wins the game of judicial roulette. Will a case challenging this get heard by a judge appointed by Obama or Biden, or by one whom Trump appointed? PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy is one indication of why Leftists are so avid to pack the Supreme Court and so incandescently enraged with Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. Give the Left a Supreme Court majority, and the ruling will come that PayPal is a private company that need not be bound by First Amendment considerations, and is free to put political pressure on its users however it may wish to do so.
It’s certainly time to ditch PayPal. But make no mistake: PayPal is not alone in this. They’re just out front on it. Before too long, every one of the social media giants and financial services will have similar policies, unless there comes to be such a change in the American customer base that these massive corporations see that woke fascism simply isn’t profitable for them, as tens of thousands of people, or more, stop using their services. That part is up to us.