PayPal caused an uproar from everyone ranging from Tesla's CEO to lawmakers when reports surfaced that the financial technology company would levy a fine on users if they were caught spreading misinformation.
Over the weekend, several conservative outlets reported that the payment service updated its Acceptable Use Policy that stated beginning Nov. 3, users would be fined up to $2,500 if they sent, published, or posted anything that promoted misinformation.
This led to an uproar online, with Google search seeing a huge increase for the words “delete PayPal” and “cancel PayPal," according to the news portal Financial World.
Those who voiced their opinion on the matter amid the backlash included Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
"PayPal is censoring speech. If you don’t listen, they will steal your money. We cannot allow this to happen," Blackburn said in a tweet.
PayPal is censoring speech.
If you don’t listen, they will steal your money.
We cannot allow this to happen.https://t.co/snjiOWbK0S
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 8, 2022
Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission Brendan Carr also criticized the move by referencing a term described in George Orwell's novel "1984."
"Orwellian. Paypal reserves the right to take your money if you post a message that Paypal decides is 'misinformation,'" Carr said in a tweet. "This is why it is so vital that state and federal legislatures pass laws that prohibit discrimination by tech companies and protect free speech."
Even former PayPal president David Marcus wasn't happy about the policy, saying on his verified Twitter account in part that the new update "goes against everything I believe in."
"A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity," Marcus said.
It’s hard for me to openly criticize a company I used to love and gave so much to. But @PayPal’s new AUP goes against everything I believe in. A private company now gets to decide to take your money if you say something they disagree with. Insanity. https://t.co/Gzf8faChUb
— David Marcus (@davidmarcus) October 8, 2022
Elon Musk, the eccentric billionaire that just launched a new perfume this week, said he "agreed" with Marcus.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 8, 2022
By Monday, a company spokesperson cleared the air, telling USA Today and The Washington Post in a statement that no such thing was going to happen, adding that the update "went out in error."
“PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy," the spokesperson told The Post. "Our teams have made appropriate updates to correct these inaccuracies and we apologize for any confusion this has caused.”