PayPal has turned into a Black Mirror episode, starring Elon Musk.
Former leaders of PayPal, known as the “PayPal Mafia,” have criticised the payments giant’s recent debanking policies. One co-founder called the freezing of funds “totalitarian,” and another said it was like an episode of Black Mirror.
Even though the payments tech giant has become more open to cryptocurrencies in recent years, it has gotten a lot of attention and criticism for its “de-platforming” practises, which are said to involve freezing funds, paying fines, and engaging in cold negotiations to get users’ accounts back.
Peter Thiel, who helped start PayPal in 1998 and was its CEO until 2002, told The Free Press (TFP) on December 14 that the company’s vision has changed a lot from its original goal of giving people more control over their money around the world.
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“If the online forms of your money are frozen, that’s like ruining people’s finances and making it hard for them to vote,” Thiel said. He also said:
“There seems to be something much more totalitarian about destroying people economically.”
People call Thiel the “Don” of the famous “PayPal Mafia.” This is a group of PayPal founders and former employees, like Elon Musk, who have gone on to start or work at other big tech companies.
David Sacks, another member of the PayPal Mafia and the company’s first chief operating officer, has also spoken out against PayPal’s deporting practises in recent years.
Sacks told TFP that PayPal, led by CEO Dan Schulman, is trying to make money off of the “woke culture” movement by banning people with different views.
“The CEO [Schulman] has won just about every woke award there is,” Sacks said.
“It’s a win-win situation.” He helps them get what they want done, and in return, they give him awards, which help him move up the corporate totem pole of “woke capitalism.”
Just to name a few, PayPal has shut down the accounts of the censorship-free Freedom Phone startup, the news website Consortium News, the Free Speech Union, and the blog The Daily Sceptic that doubts lockdowns. All of these things could be seen as political leanings to the right, or at least as different points of view.
In response to the article from The Free Press, Elon Musk, who is now CEO of Twitter and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, said that the platform has turned into an episode of Black Mirror, a British TV show where people are controlled by technology.
Some people are at risk of being kicked off platforms, so crypto supporters have pushed the “Bitcoin fixes this” story because the network is decentralised and can’t be shut down.
In October, the company also caused a lot of controversy by putting in place fines of $2,500 for users who “promote false information” or content that puts “user safety and wellbeing” at risk. Both of these terms were defined in vague ways.
The move got a lot of bad feedback from the community and from big names, like former PayPal president David Marcus and former CEO Elon Musk, who were both part of the PayPal Mafia. Then, on October 11, PayPal quickly changed its mind and said it was an internal mistake.
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But some doubters think that the policy has been quietly inserted back into the company’s user agreement and acceptable use policy.