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Google searches for phrases such as “delete Paypal” were soaring as much as 1,300% days after a report from The Daily Wire highlighted the company’s attempt to penalize users $2,500 for spreading “misinformation” through the platform.
PayPal, which has deplatformed multiple entities and commentators for their political and social views, had unveiled an upcoming change to its acceptable use policy that would have banned the promotion of “misinformation,” as well as “hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.” Within one day of The Daily Wire reporting the policy change, PayPal claimed that the new guidelines were published “in error” and apologized “for the confusion this has caused.”
PayPal trended on Twitter over the weekend as thousands of customers expressed their disdain for the policy on social media and announced that they intended to cancel their accounts. Google searches for phrases such as “how to cancel PayPal” were still trending as of Monday morning, according to an analysis of Google Trends data from MarketWatch. The phrase “delete PayPal” surged 1,392% after the acceptable use policy announcement and retraction.
Customers reacted strongly as PayPal said users found in violation of the new policy could be liable for “damages,” including the removal of $2,500 “debited directly from your PayPal account” per offense, with cases deliberated at the “sole discretion” of the company. Before posting its initial story, The Daily Wire contacted PayPal for definitions of the added terms but received no reply.
The company’s stock price fell more than 6% on Monday as the intense backlash appeared to spook investors, causing PayPal to lose over $6 billion in market capitalization. Shares closed at $84.52 on Monday, marking a 6.3% decline from $90.18 on Friday. In comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 1% as of market close.
Among the individuals who criticized PayPal over the policy were a number of lawmakers, commentators, and investors, as well as former PayPal President David Marcus and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. “It’s hard for me to openly criticize a company I used to love and gave so much to,” Marcus said on social media, arguing that the nixed policy update “goes against everything I believe in.”
The announcement and reversal occurred days after PayPal canceled three accounts linked to Toby Young, a commentator who runs a British nonprofit called Free Speech Union. The organization has defended clients such as actor and comedian Russell Brand, who recently moved his show from YouTube to Rumble in reaction to censorship from the former platform.
PayPal has also sanctioned Gays Against Groomers, a group that opposes the sexualization of children, as well as evolutionary biologist Colin Wright. The company featured a rainbow-colored banner on its social media platforms during the month of June affirming that it is “open for all,” while the company’s British subsidiary still sports the banner.
Platforms such as Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook have sanctioned conservatives over their positions on controversial social issues, including transgenderism, vaccination mandates, and homosexuality. GoFundMe seized millions in funds raised for trucker protests in Canada earlier this year, while Google recently began suppressing search results for crisis pregnancy centers.
Editor’s Note: The aborted PayPal Acceptable Use Policy was reported Oct. 6 by America’s Frontline News