PayPal said today that it will cancel accounts used by far-right group the Proud Boys as well as multiple accounts from anti-fascist groups.
The move will make it much harder for the groups to raise money online. The decision is the latest act of “de-platforming” by the tech industry, which has been grappling with how to effectively handle users that promote hateful or violent ideologies.
The ban will include the Proud Boys account as well as an account used by its founder, Gavin McInnes, PayPal said. The company is also canceling accounts for Atlanta Antifa, Antifa Sacramento, and the Anti-Fascist Network. PayPal had previously canceled accounts for Antifa Philadelphia, Antifa Arkansas, Belfast Antifa, and Rose City Antifa. The company also canceled an account used by Tommy Robinson, leader of the far-right group the English Defence League.
In a statement, the company said it, like other tech platforms, was grappling with how best to enforce its policies.
“Striking the necessary balance between upholding free expression and open dialogue and protecting principles of tolerance, diversity and respect for all people is a challenge that many companies are grappling with today,” a PayPal spokesperson said. “We work hard to achieve the right balance and to ensure that our decisions are values-driven and not political. We carefully review accounts and take action as appropriate. We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.”
In September, as conspiracy website Infowars was banned by several platforms, PayPal also said it would no longer provide service to the site.
The Proud Boys recently generated national headlines for a violent altercation with antifa protestors that followed a speech from McInnes in New York City. The incident led to the arrest of three protestors at the event, and multiple members of the Proud Boys were arrested in the days following the violence.