By creating its own penalty system with $2,500 fines against misinformation on its network, Paypal is setting itself up as both a policeman and a judge, too much for a private company. We understand the reaction of internet users and the backlash that followed…
Financial penalties imposed by PayPal
Internet users’ anger forces Paypal to back down
This exposure of the American media did not leave Internet users indifferent. For example, Twitter users advised their followers to withdraw all funds they had left on the online payment platform. Today, there is no information about PayPal’s plans in this area. The call caused a stir among Donald Trump’s supporters on Twitter, which is not surprising given that he has been banned from Twitter due to the spread of misinformation.
It should also be noted that former PayPal executives have also condemned the move, notably former executive David Marcus, “crazy”. Elon Musk himself, still a staunch defender of freedom of expression and co-founder of PayPal, expressed his agreement with the words of David Marcus.
While combating the financing of disinformation is a public interest objective, a private entity setting itself up as an arbiter of truth or falsity can pose a problem.
In a note published by the media Axios, the multinational backs down and blames a communication error. She apologizes for the confusion “wrong” can cause However a simple handling error is hard to believe, and PayPal is making a fool of itself with this crude excuse. At the very least, it shows the interest such companies have in their image and public opinion.
A trend of private companies replacing judges?
In France, as in other countries, Justice has an arsenal to fight the spread of disinformation. For example, Law of December 22, 2018 on the fight against information manipulation Creates an emergency summary procedure to prevent the spread of false information. The idea is to prevent the rapid spread of false information if it is revealed to be false, while protecting freedom of expression. This emergency procedure can only be implemented in the three months before the national elections, as it is considered that more strict monitoring of the information spread in the context of the elections is needed to guarantee the integrity of the voting. The effectiveness of this procedure should be checked in reality, because social networks are much faster than any judge, even in an emergency, they are captured.
Hence efforts like Paypal. But by trying to financially sanction certain behaviors, Paypal is subverting justice and public administration. When will there be a real public police of social networks?
As part of a partnership with Master 2 in Electronic Media Law at Aix-Marseille UniversityHighlighters brings you a selection of articles from November 2022 to January 2023. More articles can be found on the website Institute for Research and Studies in Information and Cultural Law (IREDIC)
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