by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Most people don’t read the fine print. Fortunately, in the case of PayPal’s new terms of service, somebody did.
The online financial transfer company attempted to slip past its users terms that would have allowed it to fine them as much as $2,500 for “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” which “promote misinformation.” Although this would have supposedly been limited to conduct in the use of its own app, it never seems to work this way on other social media platforms. Patreon, for example, is notorious for imposing its woke morality on content creators who say controversial things on other platforms.
Against all those who would use the “misinformation” as an excuse for suppression of free speech and tyranny, this must be said: It is not a crime to be wrong. This is not said often enough. We don’t recommend that anyone spread false information on purpose, but it is still not a crime. This is part of what freedom of speech entails.
Moreover, the disinformation police are seldom fair in what they decide to be disinformation. The political Left has effectively weaponized the very idea of misinformation as a means of stamping out dissenting opinion. It is very unlikely that PayPal’s corporate decision-makers will seize money from the New York Times and the Washington Post for their multiple Pulitzer-winning false reports on the Russia collusion hoax. It is doubtful that PayPal would steal money from Stacey Abrams for claiming she won an election that she lost fair and square by 55,000 votes in 2018. PayPal is extremely unlikely to steal money from Joe Biden’s account for falsely claiming that inflation is zero, that Republicans want to put black people or anyone else “back in chains,” or that men can become women by merely affecting effeminate mannerisms.