PayPal last week proposed updates to its acceptable use policy (AUP) that would impose a $2,500 fine on any activity it deemed was perceived as misinformation. This set off a firestorm of criticism from users, many calling for a boycott of PayPal. The company’s former president, David Marcus, took to Twitter offering some scathing remarks:
“It’s hard for me to openly criticize a company I used to love and gave so much to. But @PayPal’s new AUP goes against everything I believe in. A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity.”
It all started when PayPal informed users of changes to its AUP, including the addition of new categories of prohibited speech. These changes were intended to take effect on November 3, but the blowback has forced PayPal to quickly course correct.
According to a company statement reported by Reuters, “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.”
Whether or not you acknowledge PayPal’s apology, it is troubling that a company would be so bold to impose a stiff compensatory penalty for behavior it deems inappropriate. While there is a great deal of misinformation being spewed from all ends of the earth, payment systems and social platforms must remain neutral to earn and maintain trust.