Multiple QAnon influencers are using PayPal to raise funds, despite the platform's rules and its new effort to fight extremism
Update (9/17/21): Following the publication of this article, PayPal accounts were taken down for seven of the QAnon influencers mentioned here: Spaceshot76, Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, Praying Medic, Tracy Diaz, Amazing Polly, Truth and Art TV, and Patriots’ Soapbox.
Multiple influencers who support the QAnon conspiracy theory have been using the payment processor PayPal to make money, likely in violation of the platform’s rules and despite PayPal’s recent partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to investigate extremism on financial platforms.
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory and its supporters have been tied to multiple violent incidents, including the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. Multiple government agencies have issued internal warnings of possible domestic terrorism regarding adherents of the conspiracy theory, including a warning from the FBI in June that QAnon supporters could carry out more violent acts. Members of the National Guard were also forced to stay in Washington, D.C., after the events of January 6 in part because of a QAnon conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump would be inaugurated as president again on March 4.
PayPal’s User Agreement seemingly prohibits QAnon-related activity. The platform prohibits users from “act[ing] in a manner that is defamatory, trade libelous, threatening or harassing,” or “provid[ing] false, inaccurate or misleading information.” PayPal has previously banned some QAnon influencers, such as Jordan Sather and 8kun owner Jim Watkins. Additionally, PayPal in July announced a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League “to fight extremism and hate through the financial industry and across at-risk communities.”
Multiple other platforms have previously cracked down on QAnon, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, along with fellow payment processing platform Cash App.
Yet multiple QAnon influencers have been using PayPal to make money from followers. Those include:
- BardsFM, a QAnon show whose host is affiliated with a QAnon militia group.
- Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, a QAnon influencer known online as “Tore” who has been banned from Twitter and who has urged her followers to try to oust elected officials while pushing false voter fraud claims.
- John Sabal, a QAnon influencer known online as “QAnon John” who organized a QAnon conference in Dallas (along with an upcoming conference for the conspiracy theory in Las Vegas) and has called for a military coup against President Joe Biden. He has also been banned from Twitter.
- MG Show, a QAnon show co-hosted by QAnon influencer Jeffrey Pedersen, known online as “intheMatrixxx,” who has been banned from YouTube and has promoted false claims of voter fraud. intheMatrixxx has also been banned from Twitter.
- “Patel Patriot,” a conspiracy theorist who has interacted with the QAnon community, including giving interviews to QAnon influencers, and whose claims about Trump remaining in power have been heavily promoted in that community. (Patel Patriot has said his claims “mirrors closely to Q.”) He has also been banned from Twitter.
- Patriots’ Soapbox, a QAnon channel banned from YouTube and Twitter and whose founder, NBC News reported, was a key figure to first popularize QAnon.
- David Hayes, a QAnon influencer known online as “Praying Medic” who was banned from Twitter and has called for a military coup against Biden.
- Tracy Diaz, also known as Tracy Beanz, who was banned from Twitter and who NBC News identified as a key figure to first popularize QAnon.
- Spaceshot76, a QAnon channel that has been banned from YouTube and whose host contributed to a QAnon book that in March 2019 reached the top 15 books sold on Amazon.
- “Kate Awakening,” a QAnon influencer who the day before the insurrection said that while QAnon supporters were “peaceful,” there was an “expiration date” on that.
- “Amazing Polly,” a QAnon influencer who is banned from Twitter and also instigated the false Wayfair trafficking conspiracy theory.
- Liz Crokin, an early promoter of QAnon who was banned from Twitter and has also pushed the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
- TruReporting, a QAnon show that has been banned from YouTube and Twitter.
- Truth and Art TV, a QAnon show banned from YouTube and Twitter.
- SGT Report, a QAnon show banned from YouTube and Twitter.
- “M3thods,” a QAnon influencer who has co-hosted QAnon show RedPill78 and who has been banned from Twitter and YouTube.
- Martin Geddes, a QAnon influencer who was banned from Twitter.