The whole situation, especially conservative’s take on the AUP changes, is incredibly surreal for multiple reasons. PayPal isn’t a social media company by any stretch, and the policy would have attributed to those who actively use PayPal’s services to promote hate speech or disinformation.
The social media companies that conduct content moderation do not attack accounts for content posted outside their own spheres. This past weekend, Kanye West found that his Twitter account had been suspended, but that was for an antisemitic tweet he posted. Instagram had also restricted the rapper’s account for antisemitic content posted separately on Instagram. The AUP terms would have likely kicked in only if Ye was using PayPal to pay for services that were promoting his drivel.
Of course, even though the company has gone backwards on its proposed policy, right-wing circles aren’t ready to let it off the hook. Some particularly ghoulish right-wing folks called it a case of “cancel culture.”
A few years ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told The Wall Street Journal they were actively working to end payment services for certain companies, particularly bastions of hate speech and conspiracy chucking like Infowars and the Gab messaging platform. Infowars, headed by the human equivalent of a pot boiling over Alex Jones, sued PayPal over his ban through InfoWars’ parent company Free Speech Systems, but later dropped the lawsuit and the case is still in arbitration.
Schulman said there were “those both on the right and left that help us,” mentioning the Southern Poverty Law Center who have brought certain issues to their attention, though the CEO added, “We don’t always agree. We have our debates with them.” Conservatives latched on to this idea that the company takes advice from the SPLC, even though that has no basis in what the CEO actually said.