- PayPal said on Friday it will end its business relationship with InfoWars, the conspiracy spreading website.
- The company said an extensive investigation had determined that InfoWars has promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.
PayPal announced on Friday that it will stop providing business services to InfoWars, the website created by Alex Jones that promotes conspiracy theories.
The payment processing company said it determined that InfoWars "promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions."
Paypal's decision comes in the wake of other platforms removing or banning Jones from their services, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Spotify. But the decision by PayPal could hit InfoWars where it hurts: The company processes all payments for the website, which generates revenue through the sale of nutritional supplements, according to the New York Times.
PayPal admitted the decision will be "controversial." Jones' removal from other web services has resulted in charges by some right-leaning figures of free speech suppression and bias among tech companies. Regardless, PayPal said it's "working constantly to ensure that PayPal is not used by anyone as a platform for perpetuating hate and discriminatory intolerance."
Jones, who has won a following among far-right activists, is being sued for defamation by parents of the children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012. Jones for years promoted claims that cast doubt on the shooting and claimed that the victims 0f the tragedy were actors.
When reached for comment, PayPal directed Business Insider to its public statement on InfoWars.
A story on the InfoWars site on Friday about the PayPal ban called it "nothing less than a political ploy designed to financially sabotage an influential media outlet just weeks before the mid-term elections."
In August, Apple removed Jones and InfoWars from its podcast service, citing "hate speech." Soon after, Facebook followed suit and banned Jones for violating community standards and "glorifying violence". After initially only removing a few episodes of the Alex Jones Show, Spotify completely removed Jones' content from the platform. YouTube eventually removed Jones and InfoWars from its website as well.
Twitter was slower to act, but "permanently suspended" Jones after he berated CNN's Oliver Darcy on camera on Capitol Hill.
Here's the full PayPal announcement:
At PayPal, we are guided by a core set of values. Chief among these is inclusion. Our values are a compass for how we behave as a company. Our values are the foundation for the decision we made this week — to end our business relationship with Infowars and its related websites.
We understand this decision will be controversial to some. As a company, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure that our values are at the core of everything we do, and we will take action to stand for our values.
We do not take these actions lightly and we work hard to be rigorous and fair-minded. We undertook an extensive review of the Infowars sites, and found instances that promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions that run counter to our core value of inclusion. We believe that hatred and discrimination have no place in our democratic society and, we do not support this conduct.
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. We work hard to achieve the right balance and to ensure that our decisions are values-driven and not political. We understand, given the current divisions in our democracy, that some of our decisions will be unpopular. But our commitment to our customers and our employees is to consistently live by and uphold our values. Above all, that means working constantly to ensure that PayPal is not used by anyone as a platform for perpetuating hate and discriminatory intolerance.
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