But now PayPal is turning its back on its original mission. It is now leading the charge to restrictparticipation by those it deems unworthy.
First, in January, PayPal blocked a Christian crowdfunding site that raised money to bring demonstrators to Washington on January 6. Then, in February, PayPal announced that it was working with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to ban users from the platform. This week the company announced it is partnering with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to investigate and shut down accounts that the ADL considers too extreme.
Why is this a problem? Isn’t it perfectly reasonable to make sure bad actors don’t fund hate through these platforms?
I’m a Jewish American who has special appreciation for the ADL’s historical role as a watchdog against antisemitism. Whether it came from the Aryan Nation or the Nation of Islam, the ADL did admirable work in combatting it. But the ADL has changed. Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization has broadened its portfolio from antisemitism (or racism in the SPLC’s case) to cover what it considers to be “hate” or “extremism” in general.
The new ADL opposed the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh because of his “hostility to reproductive freedom.” It partneredwith such beacons of philosemitism as Al Sharpton (you read that right) to boycott Facebook for allowing “hate speech on their platform.” It opposedTrump’s executive order banning Critical Race Theory in federal government training. And it calledfor Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson for his comments on immigration.
Whether one agrees with any of these positions is beside the point. The point is that the ADL, like the SPLC, now weighs in on issues far beyond its original purview.