The new frontier of cancellation: your bank account

After the already known suspensions of content and profiles by social media platforms, digital cancellation resulting from the expression of conservative opinions has reached a new frontier: online payment systems, such as PayPal , crowdfunding sites and even banks are canceling or restricting user activity, alleging they spread “disinformation” and “hate speech.” Even YouTube, which changed its monetization system after a politically incorrect joke on the part of a channel in 2017, has been demonetizing content based on political bias.

Last month, the PayPal closed the account of the Free Speech Union, an organization that defends gender-critical academics and people who lost their jobs for expressing opinions. The platform also banned the account of the organization’s founder, journalist Toby Young, and his news and opinion site, the Daily Skeptic, without clear explanations ras. Young was informed that his accounts were closed for violating PayPal’s “Acceptable Use Policy”, but he was not provided with a list of prohibited or illegal transactions.

“If PayPal closed only one of these accounts, it is conceivable that it could be because it violated the company’s Acceptable Use Policy. But he closed all three accounts within minutes of each other, suggesting there is a more sinister reason. I suspect this is because, in reality, PayPal does not value freedom of expression and open dialogue or the people and organizations that uphold these principles. . “Withdrawing financial services from dissidents and non-conformists and those who dare to defend them is the new front line in the ongoing war against freedom of expression,” he added.

Young said he suspects the closure may be a response to complaints from trans rights activists. This is because the organization, which has been in existence for two years, recently asked the government to ensure that children are not indoctrinated in schools, through “radical gender theory”.

A similar cancellation by PayPal suffered American biologist Colin Wright, after “calmly defending for years the (seemingly controversial) position that biological sex is real, there are only two sexes, and differences between males and females sometimes matter” .

He says that, in April, he received an email from the platform where he used to receive donations from supporters, saying: “You can no longer do business with PayPal . After a review, we have decided to permanently limit your account as there has been a change in your business model or your company has been deemed risky.” The report added that your funds were being held for up to 180 days.

Wright was also canceled by the online retail store Etsy, where he sold items such as mugs, posters and stickers. The site’s claim was that their wares promote, support or glorify hatred or violence against protected groups.” The biologist and others canceled by PayPal migrated to Donorbox, a donation platform that, he said, came under attack from the left as “a paradise for funding for anti-LGBTQ extremists.”

At the time of cancellation, one-third of the 9,500 Free Speech Union members had their recurring fees processed through PayPal. two weeks later, Toby Young was informed that his accounts on the platform had been restored.

“Maybe if PayPal restore the accounts of every other person and organization you de-platform for political reasons and promise not to do any of that again, I might reconsider. In the meantime, I will still be devoting all my energies to pressuring the government to pass a law that curbs companies like PayPal, so that other people with non-awake political views don’t have to put up with what I went through.” The Spectator.

Over the past weekend, PayPal posted updates to its policy banning users from to use the Service for activities such as “sending, posting or publishing any messages, content or materials” that promote disinformation. The novelty takes effect on November 3, with a fine of $2,500 for each violation. The company justified to the Bloomberg news portal that the warning deals only with “incorrect information”. “PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be included in our policy,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Accounts closed without explanation

In May 2019, a group of customers Conservatives denounced the closing of their bank accounts by JPMorgan Chase, the largest financial institution in the United States. According to the New York Post, conservative activists Enrique Tarrio, Joe Biggs, Laura Loomer and Martina Markota had their accounts closed “without satisfactory explanations”, with a few weeks of difference between them.

A supporter of Donald Trump, Tarrio is head of the Proud Boys organization, who define themselves as “anti-warriors of social justice”. In 2021, he was arrested on charges of burning a Black Lives Matter track. Two years earlier, he had his JPMorgan account closed for no reason. One bank manager even called the closure “incomprehensible.”

At a shareholder meeting, David Almasi, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, questioned the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, about the closure of the accounts, fearing the initiative could be part of a larger purge of accounts affiliated with right-wing causes. The answer was nebulous, and Dimon only assured that he was not closing accounts for political reasons.

A year earlier, JPMorgan and Citigroup had already spearheaded a movement limiting partnerships that involved firearms, after a shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida. Citicorp (the consumer division of Citigroup), for example, said it would ban its retail customers from selling guns to people without a background check (which is already provided for by law) and to minors . years, in addition to inventory sales. Among these customers of the banking institution are those who received loans and those who offered credit cards from stores.

The initiative provoked a reaction from the state of Texas, which created a law prohibiting state agencies from doing business with any corporation that “discriminates” against companies or persons linked to the manufacture of weapons and ammunition. Limited to signing important contracts with the government, JPMorgan was forced to back down, declaring in writing to Texas that “these commercial relationships are important and valuable.”

Freezing and blocking against freedom

During protests by truck drivers against the Covid vaccine passport 19, earlier this year, Canada announced an authorization for banks to freeze the accounts of people involved in the “freedom train”. Crowdfunding platforms used by protesters to obtain donations were also required to report “suspicious activity.”

Using the Emergencies Act to deter dissidents, Prime Minister Minister Justin Trudeau ordered banks to stop “providing any financial services to people related to the protests”, including freezing accounts, canceling cards and seizing funds. Among the “suspects” the law placed anyone who made cash donations to support the protests.

“From today, a bank or other financial services provider can immediately freeze or suspend an account without the need for a court order. By doing so, they will be protected from civil liability for actions taken in good faith. This is about following the money. This is about stopping funding these illegal locks We’re notifying you today: if your truck is being used in these illegal lockdowns, your corporate accounts will be frozen. Your vehicle insurance will be suspended,” Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in 14 of February.

According to press surveys, the organizers from the convoy raised more than US$ 14 million (R$

million) through the GoFundMe website, an amount that was blocked by platform, under the promise of refunding to donors. The alternative found by supporters was a Christian website, GiveSendGo. The collections reached US$ 8.4 million (R$ 43 million), but the site ended up offline after reports of attacks by hackers.

Collective financing

In 2018, Patreon, an American crowdfunding site that offers tools for content creators to manage subscriptions, censored British youtuber Carl Benjamin (from the Sargon of Akkad channel). The public reacted with a boycott of the platform, for what they considered a cancellation of political bias. According to the site, a video of Benjamin violated the platform’s definitions of hate speech (which “includes serious attacks, or even negative generalizations, from people based on their race [e] sexual orientation”).

Canadian activist Lauren Southern was also banned from Patreon after recording videos criticizing gender ideology and the Black Lives Metter. She says she was informed by email that her account was being disabled because her actions “would likely cause loss of life”. At the time, Southern had 111 subscribers on the platform.

Demonetization by YouTube

Known on the internet as “Adpocalypse” [uma brincadeira com as palavras advertisement (propaganda, em inglês) e apocalipse], the demonetization movement by YouTube (when a channel or video stops generating advertising revenue on platform) began on 2017, after two separate episodes. One of them was the complaint that terrorist groups were using the site to monetize videos promoting terrorism. The other was a politically incorrect joke with Jews, posted by the channel ‘PewDiePie’, which has 111 millions of subscribers.

Even after the channel’s owner justified the satirical nature of the content and apologized, YouTube’s reaction was to add a demonetization icon to the platform’s video manager, which has increasingly hit content biased political. The signal indicates to the content creator that his video is in a kind of “purgatory” and cannot receive advertising funds from the platform.

In August, Superior Electoral Court (TSE) ) Brazilian determined the demonetization of 14 right-wing channels investigated by, according to Inspector General Luis Felipe Salomão, “proven” spread disinformation about elections. The amounts that should be transferred to the owners of the channels would be deposited in a bank account linked to the Electoral Court.

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