Financial processors who ban websites and businesses based on political ideology practice another, more insidious form of social media censorship. If blog or account depends on donations or sales of merchandise, it is vulnerable to being starved of revenue. Unfortunately, the processors aren’t necessarily reliably informed when they make such decisions.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman talked about determining what determines which users get banned from the platform. Over the past year, Paypal has banned Act For America, Gab.com, Laura Loomer, and Jihad Watch from using its processor. In fairness, the platform has also yanked several antifa groups. Schulman admitted that his staff rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s opinion when it comes to who to remove.
He said, “Southern Poverty Law Center has brought us things … We are very respectful with everyone coming in.” Schulman then claimed that PayPal still believes in freedom of speech, even though the platform will censor based on political ideology.
“We remove 10 to 100 accounts a month,” Schulman announced proudly. When the interviewer asked how the company determines who to shut down, Schulman answered, “We’ve got a cross-functional team … They review accounts that potentially promote hate, violence, or racial intolerance.”
Later in the interview, Schulman said that he was “very comfortable” with kicking people off his platform because the criteria are “based on what our values are as a company.” He told the Journal that the decision to ban conspiracy website Infowars was something that reflected his company’s values.