PayPal leads the way on tech-company support for hate websites: report

Online-payment giant PayPal is the “top tech provider” to websites peddling hate, according to a new report.

San Jose-based PayPal was found to be providing services to 23 sites deemed purveyors of hate by the Southern Policy Law Center and Anti-Defamation League.

All in all, the report alleged that for more than half the hate sites it researched, technology firms had helped them make money from ads, donations or other revenue channels.

“At least 10 tech companies played a role directly or indirectly in supporting these sites,” ProPublica reported.

Among PayPal’s client sites, according to the report, is JihadWatch, whose bread and butter is negative stories about Muslims.

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“Because of its ‘extreme hostility toward Muslims,’ the website is considered an active hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League,” ProPublica reported.

“The views of the site’s director, Robert Spencer, on Islam led the British Home Office to ban him from entering the country in 2013.”

After ProPublica posted the results of its investigation, Spencer went on the offensive, with an article on JihadWatch saying that the SPLC had “defamed” his site as hateful. PayPal had cut services to the site after the ProPublica article came out, Spencer wrote.

“PayPal, like the SPLC itself, was acting as judge, jury and executioner,” Spencer wrote Aug. 22.

“No discussion, no debate, no opposing view, no appeal was possible.”

But it turned out that on Aug. 21, JihadWatch had gotten its PayPal services back after pushback against the company, Spencer said.

“PayPal was inundated with emails and tweets denouncing its ready capitulation to Leftist attempts to delegitimize and silence all dissent,” Spencer claimed on the site.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of people canceled their PayPal accounts.”

Whether those claims are accurate was unclear. PayPal declined to comment on its purported reinstatement of services.

But there is certainly no shortage of JihadWatch supporters on Twitter claiming to have vanquished the payments behemoth.

“Victory: PayPal removes ban on Jihad Watch,” tweeted a person identifying as “Deplorable Robert.”

However, on the afternoon of Aug. 22, there didn’t appear to be any PayPal services associated with JihadWatch.

That’s because Spencer decided to stop using the company’s services, he told this news organization.

“Jihad Watch was reinstated, but I don’t intend to go back,” Spencer said in an email Aug. 22.

“PayPal has shown it is willing to block its services from those with political opinions unacceptable to the hard-Left. I have taken my business elsewhere.”

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman on Aug. 21 took to LinkedIn to share a memo he sent to company employees.

“As a company, we have a long-standing history of ensuring that our service is not used to accept payments or donations foractivites taht promote hate, violence or racial intolerance,” Schulman wrote.

“Over the past year, we have shut down hundreds of sites that violate these principles.”

And it appears that PayPal may have differences of opinion from the SPLC and ADL as to what constitutes a hate site.

“The company assesses activity through our internal processes in addition to reviewing accounts reported to us,” PayPal spokesman Justin Higgs said in a statement Aug. 22.

“Dedicated professionals handle each case individually with a consistent and objective approach in how we apply our Acceptable Use Policy.

“While we remain extremely vigilant on working to ensure that our platform is not used to perpetuate hate and intolerance, our teams continue to work to achieve balance between protecting the ideals of tolerance and diversity while upholding the values of free expression and open dialogue.”

Schulman indicated that PayPal would put its money where its mouth is on this issue.

“If you would like to donate to a cause that is working to advance tolerance and inclusion, we will match your donation to qualified non-profits through our PayPal Gives program,” Schulman said in his LinkedIn post.


Photo: An exterior view of eBay/PayPal offices in San Jose on Jan. 19, 2011. (Paul Sakuma/AP)


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  • hoapres


    What’s the problem ??

    If this keeps up then you will have a REAL problem with even groups such as the NRA being labeled a hate group and banned from the Internet.