In the cultural and ideological debate, PayPal is taking sides. The online financial transfer platform temporarily banned some conservative sites from receiving online donations via their platform because the site’s “activities” have earned them the title of “hate site” by left-wing groups.
Jihad Watch was one of the groups temporarily banned by PayPal. They were identified by ProPublicia, a leftist, George Soros-funded media outlet as a site that has “extreme hostility toward Muslims.”
On PayPal’s site, they say it is a violation of “Terms of Service” to promote “hate, violence or racial intolerance.” They also released a statement after a fascist ran over a counter-protester in Charlottesville, Virginia, stating they will “vigilantly” police those terms.
So on Friday, Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer (Not the white-nationalist Richard Spencer) received an email from Pro-Publicia’s Lauren Kirchner that contained veiled threats about his use of PayPal and how they might yank their service off his site.
And then it happened. Spencer received this email, The Daily Caller reports:
We have recently reviewed your usage of PayPal’s services, as reflected in our records and on your website https://www.jihadwatch.org. Due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with PayPal’s User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account.
We ask that you please remove all references to PayPal from your website. This includes removing PayPal as a payment option, as well as the PayPal logo and/or shopping cart.
If you have a remaining balance, you may withdraw the money to your bank account. Information on how to withdraw money from your PayPal account can be found via our Help Center.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have any questions or need our support, please contact the PayPal Brand Risk Management Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And it happened again, Pamela Gellar’s “American Freedom Defense Initiative” received an identical email from PayPal.
In an email to The Daily Caller, Spencer said that leftists are using the events in Charlottesville to attack speech on the right that it doesn’t like.
“The Left sees blood in the water after Charlottesville and is moving in for the kill, attempting to delegitimize, silence and destroy all dissent,” he wrote. “The freedom of speech, the foundation of a free society, is being eroded away under our very noses.”
Neither of these sites – it should be noted – actively encourages violence or hate. They are ideologically right-wing: whether it’s anti-immigration, or pro-Donald Trump, but they do not qualify as “hate speech” by any stretch.
After Jihad Watch supporters contacted PayPal and complained, PayPal restored service to Jihad Watch on Monday, Spencer wrote:
Congratulations, lovers of freedom: your messages to PayPal and your cancellations of your account worked: PayPal has restored the Jihad Watch account. I just received this email:
Dear Jihad Watch:
Effective 08/21/2017, the limitation applied to your account associated with https://www.jihadwatch.org pursuant to our User Agreement was removed. Your services are being reinstated.
PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy in our User Agreement prohibits individuals and groups from using PayPal for activities that promote hate, violence, or racial intolerance. If we become aware of a website or organization using our services that may violate our polices, our dedicated team of professionals conducts a thorough review. Ultimately, a decision is made and communicated to the organization. In this instance, we have made the determination to lift the limitation applied to your account associated with the Acceptable Use Policy.
Spencer said he has no intention of “restoring the PayPal buttons” on his site and does not want to place himself “at their mercy” again. (He has found another platform for readers to donate).
It was only public outcry that caused PayPal to reverse course with Jihad Watch, and only a diligent and informed public will keep these left-wing-backed organizations from silencing legitimate speech.
We must be on our toes. They are watching and waiting at the gate, waiting to silence dissent, turning us into an Orwellian state where the only information we receive is from approved sources, courtesy the Ministry of Truth.
When Donald Trump is out of the office and Democrats again control all the levers of government – that’s their “go-time” to enforce the censorship laws that are essentially already in place (Sec. 1287 (A) (2)).