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Updated PayPal policy fines users $2,500 for unapproved speech

Updated policy prohibits 'misinformation', anything 'objectionable'

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Yudi Sherman

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October 05, 2022

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10:25 PM

Updated PayPal policy fines users $2,500 for unapproved speech

PayPal is updating its “Acceptable Use Policy” to forbid a sweeping range of thought crimes which PayPal says will be determined at its “sole discretion”. 

Currently, the Acceptable Use Policy enjoins users from using the payment platform to transact in stolen goods, narcotics, firearms, ponzi schemes, bribery, and a host of other categories. A violation of the policy will result in a minimum $2,500 fine. 

“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)…" reads the policy. 

But come November 3, 2022, PayPal’s new Acceptable Use Policy will come into effect.  

“We are expanding the existing list of prohibited activities to include the sending, posting, or publication of messages, content, or materials that meet certain criteria,” says the company. 

The new policy will feature an expanded list of prohibited uses with far-reaching, nearly limitless, implications. 

According to the new policy, a user may not use the PayPal service for activities that “involve the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials that, in PayPal’s sole discretion . . . are harmful, obscene, harassing, or objectionable.” 

They also cannot depict or “appear to depict” nudity, sexual or other “intimate activities” or “depict or promote illegal drug use, depict or promote violence, criminal activity, cruelty, or self-harm.” 

The payment giant then adds that a user can be fined for merely depicting discrimination of “protected groups based on protected characteristics".

“...depict, promote, or incite hatred or discrimination of protected groups or of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.).” 

In addition, anything that presents “a risk to user safety or wellbeing,” is “fraudulent” or “promotes misinformation” is subject to the minimum $2,500 fine. 

“...present a risk to user safety or wellbeing, (g) are fraudulent, promote misinformation, or are unlawful, (h) infringe the privacy, intellectual property rights, or other proprietary rights of any party, or (i) are otherwise unfit for publication.” 

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