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Free Speech Union says it plans to challenge PayPal censorship with regulator appeal

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The Free Speech Union (FSU) has announced that its battle with PayPal over the reasons the organization got banned without a warning continues.

The now “lengthy legal correspondence” over the attempted demonetization of the FSU started last year when the incident took place. And the British free speech group seeks to, through that correspondence, discover not only why its account suddenly got suspended.

PayPal also failed to offer “meaningful” explanation for this action or proper recourse such as an appeals process, the FSU said, casting doubt over PayPal’s “openness to all” moniker, given the lack of transparency here, dubbed “a policy of non-engagement.”

This, of course, is not a new tactic employed by Silicon Valley giants; in fact, it is a tried-and-tested one, leaving users/customers with no clarity about their situation, the reasons for it, or information about possible ways to remedy it.

And most of the time, people just leave it at that, sometimes having exhausted the usefulness of cookie-cutter appeals forms that spew back generic, automated “answers” and “explanations.”

But the FSU doesn’t seem to be in the mood to give up this “investigation,” announcing now that formal letters will be sent to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Competition and Markets Authority, complaining about PayPal’s behavior.

In fact, the FSU believes that PayPal’s move to ban, and then ignore it, may prove to be useful now that the government is in the process of reviewing the UK Payment Services Regulations.

That review states that “as a minimum (and) without deviation, a notice-period and fair and open communication with a customer must apply in situations which relate to termination on grounds other than suspected or actual criminal offenses, or when otherwise allowed by law.”

From everything the public’s learned about the dispute from the FSU, PayPal will hardly pass the fair and open communication hurdle – and the free speech group plans to capitalize on that fact as it pens its letters to the regulators.

The FSU also wants to bolster its claim as unfair (and possibly unlawful) treatment at the hands of PayPal by inviting all others who faced deplatforming and financial censorship for their political opinions. Being able to cite such instances in the submission will help make it “as compelling as possible,” the FSU believes.

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