On Tuesday, online financial service PayPal permanently banned the account of journalist Ian Miles Cheong. Cheong reported the news on Twitter, with some surprise.
"PayPal just informed me," he wrote, "that they have permanently banned my account." As to the reason for that ban, he said that the company declined to give an explicit reason, though "the supervisor was extremely rude and implied that it had everything to do with my politics."
Cheong, who writes for The Post Millennial, said "they wouldn't let me know which rule I broke or how, gave me a lecture instead on how journalists don't reveal sources. When I pressed them on whether it was my politics they seemed to imply that it was—the guy was really rude—and commented that 'on issues regarding politics, PayPal remains neutral.'"
Cheong noted that bans like this, and arbitrary rules selectively enforced, are why alternative financial enterprises like Bitcoin are "taking off."
Cheong also had funds in the account, which the online financial giant said would not be released for 180 days.
There have been many reports of PayPal banning users from accessing their services, which not only facilitates sending and receiving money but is a popular method of payment for many online commerce sites.
After the Capitol riot on January 6, 2020, PayPal banned many users from accessing their services. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman told Fortune that after banning the accounts of some of those alleged to have been at the Capitol during the riot, he received death threats.
In that interview, Shulman said that PayPal stood by their "acceptable use policy," stating that "they can’t advocate violence, hatred, or racial intolerance."
He said that there was a "fine line between what is hatred and what is free speech and who do we allow to fundraise using PayPal or Venmo, and who we don't" is "one of the hardest things that we have to do."
Cheong was not given a reason for his ban, and there was no indication as to what he had posted that crossed that line. Violation of PayPal's lengthy "acceptable use" policy, may subject the user to "damages, including liquidated damages of $2,500.00 U.S. dollars per violation."
PayPal did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.