While PayPal has walked back its threat to fine users $2,500 for “misinformation,” the payments company is still reserving the right to fine users the same amount for other alleged transgressions.
In its current “Acceptable Use Policy,” which has been active for a year, PayPal states that: “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).”
And PayPal’s list of “prohibited activities,” which can trigger this $2,500 fine, include any activities that relate to transactions involving “intolerance that is discriminatory,” “the promotion of hate,” and “items that are considered obscene.”
Not only is PayPal reserving the right to fine users based on broad and subjective terms but its “User Agreement” states that PayPal will fine users if it “believe[s]” they’ve engaged in a prohibited activity.
“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,” the PayPal User Agreement states.
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The terms that PayPal is using to justify these potential fines of up to $2,500 are often used by companies and governments to restrict online speech. One of the most relevant examples of this speech policing is fundraising platform GoFundMe’s decision to suspend a campaign from political commentator Candace Owens for “intolerance” over opinions on protests.
And even when it doesn’t fine users, there are many examples of PayPal suddenly shutting down user accounts for alleged violations of its Acceptable Use Policy.