A PayPal worker based in China was the apparent author of a since-rescinded legal document that said the company could deduct thousands of dollars directly from people’s accounts if it deemed that they engaged in “misinformation.”
Metadata on the PDF file outlining PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy, which outlines a scenario more fitting for the Communist foreign nation, says it was created using Microsoft Word by a contractor in China.
The contractor’s profile on an internal PayPal directory, a screenshot of which was reviewed by The Daily Wire, describes them as an “outsourced vendor” based in Beijing. It said the contractor has been with the company since September 2020, and has no profile photo.
PayPal did not respond to questions from The Daily Wire about the origins of the document.
The metadata for the “acceptableuse-full-110322.pdf” policy, which said it would go into effect on November 3, 2022 — days before the U.S. election — says it was created on September 21, leaving plenty of time for internal review before it was posted.
It said it was expanding its “existing list of prohibited activities” to include “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” that “promote misinformation” or “present a risk to user safety or wellbeing.” Users are also barred from “the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.” It said violations of the policy could result in the removal of $2,500 per offense “debited directly from your PayPal account.”
With “misinformation” and “wellbeing” left to be defined by PayPal, the policy appeared to raise the specter of the seizure of assets of those with political opinions different than the company’s. The company recently sanctioned groups including Gays Against Groomers, which opposes the sexualization of children. Former PayPal President David Marcus said the policy update “goes against everything I believe in.”
After news of the policy broke, outrage ensued and the company’s stock price plunged, reducing its market cap by $6 billion as users feared that entrusting PayPal with their money could lead to it being seized at any time for having opinions that differed from those of the Silicon Valley monolith.
The company claimed October 8 that publishing the policy was an accident, ironically claiming its own policy contained misinformation. “An [Accepted Use Policy] notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information,” a PayPal spokesperson said. “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.”
It did not explain how an entire document full of specific legal language could have been drafted and posted to its corporate website if people in the company did not believe in the policy. The website reverted to a policy that says it is effective as of September 19, 2022. Metadata on that file says it was created by the contractor on August 4.