Republican Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is demanding that PayPal hands over its communications with Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration regarding the online payment service’s “disinformation policy.”
Rep. Issa asserts that PayPal owes the American people answers regarding the new rules in its user agreement about fining accounts $2,500 if the owners “promote misinformation.”
As Slay News reported, PayPal introduced the new language before withdrawing it again following a huge backlash.
The company threatened users who violate its policy on “misinformation,” “hate,” or speech that PayPal deemed “unfit for publication.”
The user agreement stated that PayPal would take the $2,500 “fines” directly from users’ accounts if they violated the new “woke” policy.
In the response to the widespread blowback, which saw share prices plummet as people shut down their accounts, PayPal claimed the new language was added in “error.”
In wake of the scandal, Issa is demanding to know specifically if the payment processing giant consulted with the Biden admin on the policy.
Rep. Issa has now sent a letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman requesting information on the move.
The congressman warned that “policy that would unmistakably censor free speech.”
He is also inquiring whether the company “[consulted] or [inquired] with the Biden administration … regarding the need, drafting or implementation of this mis/disinformation policy.”
In July 2021, then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed that the White House was coordinating with Facebook to censor what the government deemed “disinformation” about COVID-19.
She said at the time the Biden White House was “flagging problematic posts” to be removed from public discourse.
This has led Issa to question whether this behavior has extended to PayPal.
Issa asks PayPal how they intend to “adjudicate the ambiguous term ‘misinformation’,” asking specifically if COVID misinformation would be included, as well as gender pronouns.
The California Republican also told Breitbart the move indicates a new frontier of censorship — not just hiding written posts, but controlling speech through financial penalties.
“The PayPal action is a new line in the sand: Big Tech isn’t just censoring speech, but imposing huge financial penalties to cripple people who don’t comply,” Issa said.
Read the full text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Schulman
I write to express deep concern and to obtain answers regarding widespread media reports that PayPal surreptitiously added language to its users’ policy that would unmistakably censor free speech and fine participants for the spread of what the company determines to be “misinformation.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, Fox Business and other outlets, PayPal issued notice of the intent to update its user “Acceptable Use Policy” that was set to go into effect November 3, 2022. Specifically, the update specified to PayPal users that “You 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 … promote misinformation.” If found to have violated the policy, your company threatened to not only remove users from the platform, but also that $2,500 per violation will be deducted from their accounts.
Historically, the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy has not sought to police speech, but rather prevent illegal activity on the platform, including the sale of narcotics, the trafficking of stolen goods, the promotion of Ponzi schemes and other criminal activities. Because of this, the public was rightly alarmed upon learning of the addition of the highly ambiguous “misinformation” provision. Unfortunately, however, millions of Americans are today very well-versed in the regular attempts of Big Tech and Big Government to censor and silence their free speech.
Following the reporting, your company rescinded this policy update, explaining that it was added in “error” and that PayPal is still developing an updated policy. This has also become a routine excuse term when a tech platform targets and takes down a user and a public outcry ensues. It is therefore of critical importance that your company detail the full extent of this “error.”
Given this concerning policy and the intent of PayPal to issue an upcoming user update, please answer the following questions no later than October 30, 2022.
1. Please detail the offices and/or departments within PayPal that approved of the updated Acceptable Use Policy language that was posted on the company’s website, with a planned implementation date of November 3, 2022.
a. Please detail the offices, departments and officials that will be approving of the update currently in draft form.
2. Did PayPal, or any of its officials, consult or inquire with the Biden Administration, any of its employees, or recent former employees regarding the need, drafting or implementation of this mis/disinformation policy?
3. How did PayPal intend to adjudicate the ambiguous term “misinformation”?
a. Would COVID misinformation have been covered by the policy?
b. Would the definition of “male” and “female” have been covered by the policy?
c. What categories of “misinformation” did PayPal contemplate needed censorship that were not already covered by the previous policy?
4. How many PayPal users did the company have before October 7, 2022, and how many users are currently on the platform? What is the average PayPal user’s account balance at any given time?
5. When can a new policy be expected?
6. Will the company commit itself to a corporate practice of fundamental fairness and not single out for sanction users who don’t share certain political views.
Within days of the policy being announced, PayPal claimed the policy was announced “in error” and that it included “incorrect information.”
“An AUP notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information,” PayPal said in a statement.
“PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy.
“We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused.”
Former top management at PayPal, including Elon Musk, David Sacks, and David Marcus, spoke out on social media against the announcement.
David Sacks warned, “Get your money out of paypal right now.”
“The only ‘mistake’ PayPal made was thinking the American people are going to stand for this abuse of their power,” Rep. Issa told Breitbart.
“Time and again, conservatives and others are being targeted and taken down by Big Tech companies that want to silence them.
“There is no way we will allow this to continue.”