Thursday, September 29, 2022

PayPal backs down

Toby Young
At 5.30 p.m. this evening, PayPal notified me that it has restored all three of the accounts it cancelled a couple of weeks ago – the accounts for the Daily Sceptic, the Free Speech Union and my personal account. In all three cases, the email read as follows:

We have continued to review the information provided in connection with your account and we take seriously the input from our customers and stakeholders. Based on these ongoing reviews, we have made the decision to reinstate your account. You should now be able to use your account in the normal way. We sincerely appreciate your business and offer our apologies for any inconvenience this disruption in service may have caused.

Forgive me if I don’t jump for joy. Since PayPal dropped the bombshell on 15 September, I’ve been desperately trying to save the Daily Sceptic and the Free Speech Union from going under – ‘inconvenience’ doesn’t begin to describe what I’ve been through. About a quarter of the regular donations people were making to the Daily Sceptic were being made via PayPal and about a third of the Free Speech Union’s members were paying their recurring membership dues using PayPal. We’ve had to write to all those people affected and plead with them to use a different payment processor, as well as redraw our annual budgets in anticipation of the revenue loss. So, telling me now that it was all a terrible mistake is too little, too late.

And it clearly wasn’t a mistake. PayPal told me it had permanently closed all three accounts and appeals in all three cases had been unsuccessful. It couldn’t quite decide why it had closed the accounts – it alternated between telling me I’d breached its policy about not promoting ‘hate, violence or racial intolerance’ and telling newspapers my accounts had been closed because I was spreading ‘Covid-19 misinformation’ – but it had definitely decided to close them. Now, apparently, I’m not guilty of any of these sins and my accounts were just under ‘review’. After ‘input’ from its ‘customers and stakeholders’ it has decided I’m kosher after all.

So what’s happened? I’ve received thousands of emails and messages from people telling me they’ve closed their PayPal accounts in solidarity, so that may be the ‘input’ the company is referring to. Another reason may be because the company’s efforts to cancel me have been universally condemned across the British media. Last week, Danny Kruger MP asked a question about it in parliament and on Sunday a letter was sent to Jacob Rees-Mogg by 42 peers and MPs urging the Business Secretary to hold PayPal to account. It now looks as though a Bill currently going through parliament will be amended to make it illegal for financial services to engage in this kind of political censorship in future.




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