PayPal: EVERYBODY CHILL OUT, We Don't Block People's Accounts For Political Reasons, And Everything's Back To Normal Anyway

julian assange

The group Courage to Resist, which supports WikiLeaks whistleblower Pfc Bradley Manning, had its account briefly shut down by PayPal. Cue horrified cries of censorship!

Everybody chill out!, PayPal essentially responds in a blog post on the situation: the account was temporarily blocked over a technicality (they hadn’t associated a bank account to their PayPal account), and now they’ve restored it. “This has nothing to do with WikiLeaks,” PayPal writes.

While the decision to shut down WikiLeaks over a vague rule about “activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity” was highly arguable, this seems to be kosher. PayPal routinely shuts down accounts over minutiae like this. Part of it is because it’s become a bureaucracy under eBay. But part of it is also that it has to deal with an enormous amount of fraud, and as a payments service has legal obligations that it has no control over.

Sometimes shutting down an account and asking questions later really is the best policy, even though it may infuriate customers (and activists, as in this case). This seems to be what happened here.

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