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PayPal Joins the Cancel Culture

Thousands of philatelists, postal historians and deltiologists (collectors of postcards) and ephemera use PayPal to pay for their on-line purchases.  I urge you to reconsider using their services.

PayPal is shutting down the accounts of its customers whose views it objects to. Among those shut down is the Free Speech Union. In doing so, PayPal has sided with Big Pharma in denying a debate on the Covid vaccine roll-out and its aftermath. The Free Speech Union has legally represented academics and others whose right to free speech has been policed or silenced. It is a fundamental crime against humanity to deny an exchange of reasonable views.

PayPal has also shut down the account of UsForThem, a parents’ group. Its crime? It campaigned to keep schools open during the pandemic in order that children's education should not suffer and opposed vaccines for children, a position that in my opinion is entirely correct given what we now know. As a result of PayPal's ban, UsForThem has said that it has been unable to access thousands of pounds in donations ‘due to the nature of our activities’.

This decision by the US payments company is a sinister form of cancel culture. Sadly and worryingly, it seems that American society is becoming increasingly dictatorial and intolerant. As a concerned democrat and a PayPal customer, I cannot stand silent without objecting. I do not have to go along with this. It is time to stand up and be counted. Again. I have writtem to PayPal asking them to reinstate these accounts with an apology and failing that, I have asked them to remove me as well. There are alternatives to PayPal. Until this assault of free speech is corrected, I will not use PayPal. In fact, I now see no reason to return to them at all. Dear Dealer, will you take a direct bank transfer?

The Free Speech Union (FSU) was set up to offer support to people persecuted for their opinions. I see an irony here in PayPal's actions. Just in case you think that the FSU is some right-wing front, it has offered support to atheist Richard Dawkins, the feminist Kathleen Stock, left-wing MP Chris Williamson and the Scot, Alex Salmond.

UsForThem, a Children First charity, says that it has been overwhelmed by the support it has received. It reports that PayPal has, according to The Times, accepted that they were “over zealous” and have reinstated its account. Yet there has still been NO explanation and NO apology to UsForThem from PayPal and NO guarantee that this will not happen again. All UsForThem has received is an anonymous email saying that PayPal has restored their access and thanking UsForThem for its patience! I understand UsForThem will be closing its account forthwith and I will be doing the same unless PayPal unequivocally apologise for this affront.

The story of UsForThem, The Free Speech Union and others being cancelled by PayPal has touched a nerve amongst British Parliamentarians, celebrities and the media as well as among like minded groups such as Together who galvanised their supporters. On Thursday, Danny Kruger MP asked a question in Parliament to Penny Mordaunt MP about his concern that PayPal had shut UsForThem’s account without any warning. This was followed by the comedian Jack Dee cancelling his account in disgust. Jack is right. This is NO laughying matter.  #BOYCOTTPAYPAL was trending and media coverage even included the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 (7.45 am).

Yesterday, 42 Parliamentarians led by Miriam Cates - including Michael Gove, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Sir Graham Brady, and Robert Halfon - wrote to Jacob Rees-Mogg as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Andrew Griffith as Financial Secretary to the Treasury to express their concerns. They have urged them to request the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority address PayPal’s ability to impose private economic sanctions, and to look at whether legislative safeguards are needed to protect individuals and groups. This was covered in the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph.

It cannot be the case that in a liberal democracy private financial service providers are able to withdraw critical services for political ends at the click of a prejudiced mouse-button in order to silence dissenting views. If you decide this is an important issue I urge you to write to PayPal and let them know why you have done so. The alternative is to do nothing, connive with them because they make your life easier and let them get away with it.

Agreed on all counts. Unfortunately the world is regressing. Personally I stopped using Paypal some years back, when I moved from Dubai to Doha and there was no way to get it working or get emails answered. It is a huge inconvenience though.

Politicians are failing everyone. 


Thanks for the support, Yannis.

It is not just politicians who are failing us. It is increasingly the corporate world, especially Big Tech and Pharma.

PayPal recently annpounced that it was going to fine users $2,500 for spreading “misinformation”. PayPal has now backtracked on this published policy. PayPal claims that the announcement went out “in error”. Given this snafu, one must hope that they have better control over their customer's money than they do their corporate communications!

PayPal says “An AUP (acceptable use policy) recently went out in error that included incorrect information. PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy. Our teams are working to correct our policy pages. We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused,” a spokesperson wrote.

PayPal is increasingly the subject this sort of self-inflicted public and customer outrage. (Or is this fake news and objectionable?) This latest reversal of policy comes after the company once more attracted media scrutiny as well as criticism on social media and other platforms. It former president, David Marcus, did not hold back on his disapproval over the suggestion that PayPal would seize up to $2500 of customers’ money if it found their views objectionable.

“It’s hard for me to openly criticize a company I used to love and gave so much to," said Marcus. "But PayPal’s new AUP goes against everything I believe in. A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity.” Ex-South African boytjie, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk “agreed,” a comment that got thousands of likes on Twitter, a plaftorm he may soon own. Like many free-speechers I hope that once Elon gets his hands on it he will wipe the tarnished Twitter  slate clean for all to reasonably use.

I stated previously that I have decided to not use PayPal until they apologise to the organisations whose accounts they unilaterally closed. They have not done so but they have re-instituted their accounts. Needless to say, these organisation and others now see in PayPal an authoritarian wokista to be avoided. My decision to take an anti-PayPal stand has already disadvantaged me with Canadian on-line dealer BuckaCover. It has had to discontinue taking credit cards because "their insurance regulations now prohibit them from handling the actual credit card information due to cyber-liability". As a result, BuckaCover now exclusively use Paypal. Sadly, I could not complete my purchase with them for a couple of really interesting items. Both BuckaCover and I have lost out due to my stand. I have suggested that BuckaCover complain to PayPal about their behaviour. I hope they do. We are all in this together!

Csobla has reacted to this post.

In 2021, PayPal accounted for 22% of all on-line transactions ie. just over one in five. This suggests that it is far from a monopoly - and can be reined in. I entered 'Alternatives to PayPal' into Google and was surprised at the number of alternatives that came up, at least 10.

Today I received an encouraging email from an dealer who says that he is "investigating a new credit card service .... If they offer me an online portal similar to the PayPal methodology, I will in all likelihood set that up in order to reduce our dependence on PayPal."

In the UK and South Africa I regularly make local direct bank transfers to pay for my philatelic purchases. International transfers are more difficult and expensive, hence PayPal's popularity. There is invariably a bank transfer fee on international payments. My contact's cost to receive an incoming bank transfer is  just over US$10, regardless of the amount. He says that he would "happily swallow that cost on a $200 order as credit card or PayPal also takes 2.5-3%, but less than that it would be too painful". It is a problem, one that PayPal simplifies. Still, it is not uncommon to hear dealers complain about the high cost of  PayPal (and also eBay).

Recently some customers have reported difficulties getting their funds out of PayPal. This may have been due to a self-inflicted run on PayPal after a corporate communication stated the company would fine users $2,500 for spreading “misinformation”.  According to the Daily Sceptic, "by “fine” it meant helping itself to $2,500 from its customers’ deposits. So, unsurprisingly, many customers decided to withdraw their funds and close their accounts. That, in turn, prompted PayPal to do a reverse ferret and announce that its message setting out the changes to its AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) had been sent in “error”. Cue general hilarity".

Brendan Carr, a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, puts PayPal's claim to have done this in error in perspective. “PayPal says its misinformation policy ‘went out in error'. Who among us has not fat fingered a new, seven-page policy that would take away peoples’ money for publishing ‘misinformation’ and then released that new policy by accident?” Answer: None but PayPal! Such Porkies must surely bring it into further disrepute.

Finally, two Stop Press courtesy of the Daily Sceptic:

Stop Press 1: A reader reports that when he tried to close his account he got a message saying: “We’re sorry, we’re not able to process your request right now. Please try again later.” I wonder if PayPal’s recent behaviour has produced the digital equivalent of a run on the bank and it cannot now return its customers deposits because it’s invested them in financial products it cannot now liquidate without incurring large losses?

Stop Press 2: PayPal’s stock is down 6%. Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge says: “Anyone caught shorting this woke payment platform will be fined $2500.”


PayPal apparently recently backtracked on a published policy that would have fined users $2,500 for spreading "misinformation," claiming the update had gone out "in error." Well, it looks like PayPal just reintroduced its $2,500 'Misinformation' Fine hoping we wouldn't notice! It is so indispensable to online shoppers and dealers that they believe that everyone will just accept their claim and immediately forget about the incident.

Apparently, the clause that was a "mistake" and which was never intended to be included in PayPal's terms of service ended up back in there once the criticism died down. So, just what constitutes a "violation" of the company's terms of service is so vaguely worded that it could cover almosty anything. It could certainly cover the offence of selling stamps from Apartheid South Africa, (it perpetuates racist history), postcards that use the "K" words, (its offensive), or Anthony Sher's biography, (too entitled and comfortable ).

A 'violation"of PayPal's user agreement is "other forms of intolerance", a term so broad-ranging it legally gives the company grounds to claim that anyone not fully supporting any particular position is engaging in "intolerance" because by definition the word means 'the unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own'. So if you are signed up to PayPa and have agrred to this, you have given it the authority to withdraw $2,500 from your account simply for voicing an opinion that PayPal disagrees with.

PayPal never removed the $2,500 fine which has been there for over a year now. All they removed was a new section that mentioned misinformation. 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" but the $2,500 fine has been there since September 2021 - and is still there. Item 2.f. which includes "other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory" has been there since the policy was updated, and not recently added.