[UPDATED] New PayPal Policy Lets Company Pull $2,500 From Users’ Accounts If They Promote ‘Misinformation’

Retro

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Stuff like that is the thin end of the censorship wedge. Sounds great in principle, but that vagueness and mission creep can make it very bad indeed.

These big and semi-monopolistic companies have way too much power, allowing them to get away with things like this. It also doesn't help that there are people out there such as Donald Trump, Alex Jones and those bloody anti-vaxxers among many others who spread exactly the kind of garbage misinformation that PayPal want to guard against. Once again, just like at school, the few spoil it for the many.

In the end, the line between censoring something and not censoring it is always blurred and open to interpretation, which applies everywhere. For example, as the owner of this forum, I have a responsibility to try and keep the conversation within reasonable guidelines, set by the Forum Rules, which means applying moderator actions if things don't look right, even if it's just a word with the user to tone it down a bit. This presents a challenge in being fair to my users and the forum as a whole. Crucially, I must avoid throwing my weight around by abusing my powers here. Here's an example of the three basic situations:

  1. Definitely censor: someone posts distressing pictures of murdered female rape victims, blames them for what happened and makes pathetic excuses for going easy on the murderer, eg they were misunderstood as a child and hence are just acting out their frustrations, which is to be expected. No reasonable person would ever say this, so someone like this will have the post deleted immediately and a sanction applied, likely a temporary or permanent ban.
  2. Grey area: an enthusiastic Trump supporter who believes the lies that the election was stolen and justifies the Jan 6 riot, deflecting blame away from Trump. We had one of those a little while ago, didn't we? ;) However, they remain mostly pleasant to members who disagree with them and try to genuinely support their viewpoint with some kind of reasoned argument, no matter how flawed. The details matter here, so it could go either way and different moderators would likely have different opinions on what to do here.
  3. Definitely don't censor: someone posts about a particular kind of animal abuse to try and raise awareness of the animals' plight. The account is a little distressing to read, but there are no graphic details or distressing pictures, just one or two of rescued animals and the links are to genuine charitable organisations that help animals in these situations.
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.”

The company’s current acceptable use policy does not mention such activities.


UPDATE

PayPal have backpeddled a day later by claiming that the fining bit was "sent out in error". Sure. You weren't testing the waters, but got a big backlash, were you?

 

Tiffany

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You know, we always ask, "who, gets to decide"? Apparently, in this case, PayPal, gets to decide and you won't really have much recourse.

I'm still reading about it, but first impression....well, I can't use those words on line, or I'm not even sure what words I'd use, so I'll leave it with a polite......"concerning".
 

Retro

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Tiffs, feel free to discuss the unrepeatable stuff in PM if you wish. :)
 

live627

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first impression....well, I can't use those words on line, or I'm not even sure what words I'd use, so I'll leave it with a polite......"concerning".
ok then here's mine: ministry of truth. They could see that financial punishment worked to quell the truckers' protest in Canada ,so now it's time to further communist agendas.

This isn't too far from their age-old practice of freezing problematic accounts; at least, that was reversible. Still wrong.

PayPal have backpeddled a day later by claiming that the fining bit was "sent out in error". Sure. You weren't testing the waters, but got a big backlash, were you?
The error was that it received too much backlash and was picked up by news tabloids.. Just like with their new refund policy not returning fees, exact same story: they announce it, users fire back, they backpedal, then quietly implement it months after the outcry has died down.
 

Arantor

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This is a fascinating step forwards for them. Clearly this came out of some angle that “Big Tech needs to address misinformation”, but I find myself increasingly despairing of the notion. Not because combatting misinformation should be stopped (indeed, combatting misinformation is a good thing), but it has the same issues as “defending freedom of speech”, inevitably one side will claim “you’re censoring *my* misinformation but not *their* misinformation”. And so it goes round again.
 

Tiffany

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@Retro Glad you posted about PayPal. I will never forget what PayPal wrote for a new policy in their language and intent against users, though retracted, they have now let the world know their "management style" to put it nicely.

@live627 Agree totally!

@Arantor Agree totally!

Since PayPal's little stunt, I have searched for a PayPal alternative, which I have found. I'm sure I'm not alone. Freedom is important, but encroachment on my freedom, in this case my financial/purchase freedom, in such a personal and controlling way, without any due process, that's were I draw my line in the sand.
 

Retro

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Nice one Tiffs. If I can help to lose PayPal even one customer, I'll consider it mission accomplished. I'll never forget how they screwed me over more than a decade ago when I sold a graphics card to an obviously fraudulent eBay buyer who claimed he never received it. I lost the card and the money due to those bastards. I'm still angry about it today.
 

Tiffany

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Nice one Tiffs. If I can help to lose PayPa/l even one customer, I'll consider it mission accomplished. I'll never forget how they screwed me over more than a decade ago when I sold a graphics card to an obviously fraudulent eBay buyer who claimed he never received it. I lost the card and the money due to those bastards. I'm still angry about it today.
I'm sure we can create an appropriate hashtag to ban PayPal 😈

The kicker with leaving PayPal is finding people/vendors using the other alternatives to PayPal.

I'm sorry you went through that with eBay....sigh...very frustrating!
 

live627

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m4t9qii572t91.jpg


The market strikes back! (never mind that it was overall an ugly day)
 

Tiffany

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@live627 Thank you! This is the part of "go woke, go broke" companies don't get yet. If there's enough people that bail, then maybe they will change. For some reason companies seem to continue to dig in though along with their ESG requirements. Oh well, there are other companies on the rise, either remaining neutral, or operating to serve their customers without being biased.

Saw this article this morning. PayPal is still dug in on fining based on "hate and intolerance". I put in bold text on that part of their vague policy.


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.
 

Arantor

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See, here's the problem. People seem to want the Big Tech firms to do the policing for them of 'the wrong kind of information', like making sure that people committing fraud and promoting dangerous things are stopped. Trouble is, they never stop to define the line where that shoulud end.

If you want PayPal to protect you from fraud, protecting you from misinformation is a logical next step - clearly they've had enough complaints of 'you didn't protect me against being scammed out of my money by misinformation campaigns' and are pushing back, using the one lever they actually have to push back with.

Every single 'but it's censorship' on platforms is the same - the only question is whether it's for 'your side' or 'their side' at this point because everything must clearly be that reductive.
 

Tiffany

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Every single 'but it's censorship' on platforms is the same - the only question is whether it's for 'your side' or 'their side' at this point because everything must clearly be that reductive.
There is the problem....perspective on an issue. I rather liked forums 20 years ago. There wasn't censorship, fact-checkers and AI managing my content. Where's that time-machine?
 

Arantor

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Oh, there was censorship, it just didn't *feel* like it because communities were smaller and homier and didn't *need* it because people weren't starting from such a them-and-us polarised feeling. And people came with a sense that if a community didn't work for them, they were free to move on because there would be another one right around the corner. There was very little of the feeling we have now that sites should adapt to service the users and not somewhere in the middle (or the other way around)
 

Tiffany

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Oh, there was censorship, it just didn't *feel* like it because communities were smaller and homier and didn't *need* it because people weren't starting from such a them-and-us polarised feeling. And people came with a sense that if a community didn't work for them, they were free to move on because there would be another one right around the corner. There was very little of the feeling we have now that sites should adapt to service the users and not somewhere in the middle (or the other way around)

You just explained the forums from long ago, in the best way. :)
 
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