PayPal reversed course last weekend on an update to its acceptable use policy that would have added promoting “misinformation” to its list of “prohibited activities” that could potentially result in a financial penalty. Although the policy won’t actually go into effect, right-wing media were apoplectic, touting PayPal’s use of the term “misinformation” as an example of bias against conservatives and encouraging their audience to boycott the company.
The policy was slated to go into effect in early November and would have carved out a $2,500 fine for PayPal users who “promote misinformation” — along with more conventional violations such as selling narcotics or stolen goods and encouraging violence. However, on October 10, a spokesperson announced the company had reversed course, saying, “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.”
Nonetheless, right-wing news networks and influencers seized on the opportunity to claim the company was targeting conservatives and warned their audiences that supposedly “woke” companies like PayPal would “take every inch they can get when you’re not looking.” On social media, right-wing influencers celebrated PayPal’s apparent policy reversal and encouraged their audiences to “leave” the platform — and in several instances, used the opportunity to promote their own payment processing companies.
Right-wing media claim that PayPal attempted to “squelch conservative voices”
- On October 9, Arizona GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo that he supported banning companies like PayPal from “discriminating against users because of the political content of their speech.” The following day, Bartiromo agreed with Rep. Roger Williams’ (R-TX) assessment that it was “pretty unbelievable” that PayPal would attempt to “squelch conservative voices.”
- Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Will Cain said he was “shocked, but unsurprised,” by the new PayPal policy because of supposed tech industry bias against conservatives. Co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy compared the company’s policy to censorship by the Chinese government, while co-host Pete Hegseth added, “They’ll take every inch they can get when you’re not looking.”
- On October 10, Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appeared on War Room: Pandemic ahead of the ruling on his latest defamation lawsuit, claiming that the “de-banking” of conservatives by companies like PayPal is “the next phase of control.”
- During an October 10 segment that aired on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations, Sinclair national correspondent Kristine Frazao reported that PayPal’s “move added fuel to the fire for Congress to take action” for “a trend Republicans say often targets them,” cutting to a clip of Masters on Fox Business claiming he would “ban these companies from discriminating against users.”
- Frequent Fox News guest Glenn Greenwald said PayPal was leading a “truly dangerous effort to banish people from the financial system for expressing dissent from neoliberal orthodoxies.”
Right-wing personalities encourage users to boycott PayPal or promote their own payment processors
- Antisemitic Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba said in a livestream that his social media platform, which is a notorious haven for white nationalists, was “one of the canaries in the coal mine with PayPal’s tyranny and financial censorship” after it was banned from the platform in 2018. Torba also used the story as an opportunity to promote his own payment processing venture, GabPay.
- On his podcast, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander said that right-wing influencers and social media users “must leave PayPal” to “build market demand” for a high-quality payment processing alternative before encouraging Republican legislators to “shut PayPal down. I mean, we can permanently disable PayPal.”
- In a podcast segment about PayPal, Fox News host Dan Bongino encouraged his audience to “get the hell away from these crazy people as quick as you can” and switch to his own payment processing system, called “Parallel Economy.”
- In a Facebook Live video, Daily Wire pundit Candace Owens said that financial institutions like PayPal are “starting to penalize people for being conservative” and encouraged her audience to switch to the “pro-America” payment processing company she co-founded, billing it as “the beginning of the conservative economy.”
- In a tweet, conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson said that anyone who didn’t delete their PayPal and Venmo accounts was “part of the problem.”
Conservatives claim victory for PayPal’s policy reversal
- On far-right cable outlet One America News, pundit Angie Wong celebrated right-wing social media users rejecting PayPal’s “woke policy,” noted that the company’s stock price had fallen, and said she was “hearing the SEC is looking to fine the company for such woke policies.”
- Taking credit for the policy’s reversal, The Daily Wire published an article titled “PayPal Value Down $6 Billion, ‘Delete PayPal’ Searches Soar 1,300% After Daily Wire Report Exposes ‘Misinformation’ Policy.”
- Newsmax host Benny Johnson attributed a decline in PayPal’s stock price to “Patriots” who “fought back and DELETED their accounts over the woke company’s initial plans to police your First Amendment rights.” “We are winning,” he gloated. “Can you feel it?”
- Former Fox News contributor and serial plagiarist Monica Crowley said PayPal had been foiled in its attempt to install a “CCP-style social credit system” because “so many people rightfully canceled their accounts.” She also warned that “this is where everything is heading unless we stop it.”
- Right-wing fraudster and conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza called upon the Department of Justice to investigate PayPal’s ill-fated policy as a financial crime.
- Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, was thrilled with PayPal’s stock price falling, tweeting, “Go woke, go broke!”
- Anti-Muslim bigot Brigitte Gabriel echoed that sentiment, tweeting, “PayPal is woke, if you own their stock you might want to consider getting out now before they go broke.”