PayPal may have publicly claimed that their threat to fine users $2,500 for spreading so-called “misinformation,” was just an innocent mistake, but it turns out the company is still planning on handing out the fines just with slightly different reasoning.
The financial services company is still reserving the right to fine users the $2,500 for other alleged transgressions.
Its current “Acceptable Use Policy,” which has been in place for a year 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).”
According to PayPal’s own list of “prohibited activities” transactions which they deem to be related to “intolerance that is discriminatory; the promotion of hate,” and “items that are considered obscene” could all trigger the hefty fine.
These terms are extremely broad and determined solely by PayPal, suggesting they could make the case to fine anyone who uses the platform that they simply don’t agree with.
The company’s “User Agreement” also states that PayPal will fine users simply if it “believes” 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 agreement states.
In recent years companies have adopted terms like these to push censorship and limit free speech, especially the speech and opinions of conservatives and Trump supporters. The company has already engaged in the deletion of users accounts if it deems them to be in “violation” of their policy, which could be something as little as sharing an opinion that runs counter to theirs.
After the initial news broke that the company was planning to fine users for promoting “misinformation,” the backlash forced the company to walk back the claim but these agreements prove they’ve already been set up to do this for quite some time and despite what their public relations team might claim, these fines may very well start to hit users.
The company’s stock price plummeted after the news, with users cancelling their accounts in waves.
PayPal has gotten so desperate, in fact that they are attempting to bribe users with $15 to prevent them from closing their accounts.
When users attempt to delete their account, an automated message is now generated which reads “If the reason behind closing your account is the recent notice regarding the policy … Allow me to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and since we value you as a PayPal member, I would like to give you a one time courtesy of $15 worth of PayPal voucher because we want to keep you…”
The move, however, has also backfired for the payment platform as users pointed out that a measly $15 is nothing compared to the $2500 fines they are threatening.