By Guy Page
When Big Tech censorship struck last week, several Vermont Daily Chronicle readers decided to push back.
The popular online payment system October 8 announced it would confiscate up to $2500 from accounts that “in PayPal’s sole discretion….depict, promote or incite hatred or discrimination of protected groups or of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.).”
The policy proved about as popular as pulling Classic Coke off the shelves. It was reversed even more quickly. A day later, after widespread derision and a big sell-off of PayPal stock, the company changed its mind. They said it was all just a silly, little misunderstanding.
But some of our readers weren’t buying it. They immediately stopped all of their PayPal business – including their monthly online donations to Vermont Daily Chronicle. When the first cancellation came in, I figured it was just a reader making a financial decision. But when the second rolled in, followed by the third….. I started to reach out to readers and gently ask, what’s up?
“Actually, I would like to keep supporting you, I simply don’t want to patronize PayPal anymore,” one reader said. “I mean, they changed course on their most recent awful decision, but that was simply the last straw for me. Is there a decent way to contribute that doesn’t give money to someone who thinks we’re subhuman?”
Well, yes, there is. Subscribing readers who don’t want to use PayPal are most welcome to write a check instead to Vermont Daily Chronicle, P.O. Box 1547, Montpelier, VT 05601. Also, most banks offer an automatic bill payment on their online banking platforms. Several monthly donors now use bill pay instead of PayPal.
Another subscribing reader wrote back: “Fortuitous timing on your email! I have just cut ties with PayPal, so my $10 recurring monthly donation will be ending. In lieu of that, I am converting to an annual subscription and will be sending you a check for $120. Yup, I can’t even bear the thought of sending a one-time credit card payment via PayPal’s platform.”
She added, “Between you and me, I think the rescinded $2500 misinformation fine was a mistake only in terms of timing, so you may want to think about finding another payment processor. I look forward to getting news I can trust from VDC, so just keep doing what you’re doing!”
Vermont Daily Chronicle will stick with PayPal, at least for now. For this low-tech, one-man-band operation, the convenience of PayPal is too tempting to pass up – yet. But if the subscribing reader above is right and PayPal reverts to its censorious, money-grabbing ways, the online giant (net worth $104 billion) will have to soldier on without the infinitesmal piece of the action that is Vermont Daily Chronicle.
PayPal has a strong Vermont connection: tech billionaire Reid Hoffman, 1985 graduate from the private, exclusive Putney School in Windham County. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of PayPal, also serving as its Chief Operations Officer (COO). He was Executive VP when PayPal was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
Categories: Letter from the Publisher