Free speech group is ‘cancelled by PayPal’
US giant cuts off three accounts campaigner set up
PAYPAL has found itself in hot water after shutting down accounts belonging to the founder of the Free Speech Union.
Toby Young, who set up the campaign group and the Daily Sceptic news blog, was told last week that three of his PayPal accounts would be closed for violating an ‘acceptable use policy’.
The FSU defends victims of cancel culture while the Daily Sceptic was set up in April 2020 to scrutinise lockdown. PayPal did not specify which rule the organisations had broken, but the policy contains numerous ‘prohibited activities’ including transactions involving illegal drugs, stolen goods, or ‘the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance’.
The US firm last night said it was trying to balance ‘protecting the ideals of tolerance, diversity and respect’ with the values of free expression. But Mr Young accused it of ‘whisking the rug out from under’ private businesses. ‘This is completely outrageous, but I am far from the only person to be deplatformed in this way,’ he said.
‘The withdrawal of financial services from people who challenge the prevailing orthodoxy, whether it’s about teaching primary school children there are 27 different genders or Net Zero, is the new battlefront in the ongoing war against free speech.
‘The Free Speech Union will be lobbying the Government to put new laws in place to stop companies like PayPal from withdrawing their services from individuals and organisations who say something perfectly lawful but which their employees disagree with.’
Last Thursday Mr Young received notice that his personal account was being suspended. The account contained £600 and PayPal said it would hold the money for up to 180 days. Mr Young used it to receive payments from European magazines. Minutes later, PayPal sent the same message to the two organisations Mr Young runs – the Daily Sceptic and the FSU.
PayPal said it would ‘discontinue’ its relationship with account holders found to violate its policies.
It added: ‘Achieving the balance between protecting the ideals of tolerance, diversity and respect for people of all backgrounds and upholding the values of free expression and open dialogue can be difficult, but we do our best to achieve it.’