“On October 8th, PayPal updated its terms of service agreement to include a clause enabling it to withdraw $2,500 from users’ bank accounts simply for posting anything the company deems as misinformation or offensive,” reports Grit Daily. “Unsurprisingly, the backlash was instant and massive,” causing the company to backtrack on the policy and claim the update was sent out “in error.” Now, after the criticism on social media died down, several media outlets are reporting that the company quietly reinstated the questionable misinformation fine — even though that itself may be a bit of misinformation. From a report: Apparently, they believed that everyone would just accept their claim and immediately forget about the incident. So the clause that was a mistake and was never intended to be included in PayPal’s terms of service magically ended up back in there once the criticism died back down. That sounds plausible, right? And as for what constitutes a “violation” of the company’s terms of service, the language is so vaguely worded that it could encompass literally anything.
The term “other forms of intolerance” is so broad that it legally gives the company grounds to claim that anyone not fully supporting any particular position is engaging in “intolerance” because the definition of the word is the unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own. So essentially, this clause gives PayPal the perceived right to withdraw $2,500 from users accounts for voicing opinions that PayPal disagrees with. As news of PayPal’s most recent revision spreads, I anticipate that the company’s PR disaster will grow, and with numerous competing payment platforms available today, this could deliver a devastating and well deserved blow to the company. UPDATE: According to The Deep Dive, citing Twitter user Kelley K, PayPal “never removed the $2,500 fine. It’s been there for over a year. All they removed earlier this month was a new section that mentioned misinformation.”
She goes on to highlight the following:
1.) [T]he $2,500 fine has been there since September 2021.
2.) PayPal did remove what was originally item number 5 of the Prohibited Activities annex, the portion that contained the questionable “promoting misinformation” clause that the company claims was an “error.”
3.) [T]he other portion, item 2.f. which includes “other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory,” which some have pointed out may also be dangerous as the language is vague, has always been there since the policy was updated, and not recently added.
PayPal’s user agreement can be read here.