- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 22, 2018

PayPal is permanently banning websites run by Alex Jones, marking another blow against the right-wing media personality’s efforts to keep his Infowars empire afloat after getting the boot recently from fellow tech titans ranging from Apple to YouTube.

The payment processing service said Friday that it will stop handling transactions for Infowars and its related websites, including the online store that generates revenue for its operations, citing violations of the company’s acceptable use policy.

“We undertook an extensive review of the Infowars sites, and found instances that promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions that run counter to our core value of inclusion,” PayPal said in a statement. “We believe that hatred and discrimination have no place in our democratic society and, we do not support this conduct.”

PayPal’s decision to part ways with Infowars makes it the latest of more than a dozen major tech firm to lately take action against Mr. Jones, 44, but could be the most consequential. While bans imposed recently by major social media services and content hosting providers have significantly diminished the Infowars publisher’s digital reach, punting him from PayPal takes away a major platform for generating revenue.

Mr. Jones’ businesses made over $5 million 2014, The New York Times reported earlier this month, thanks largely to revenue generated by selling products through his Infowars store ranging from bumper stickers and t-shirts touting President Trump, to nutritional supplements with names including “Brain Force Plus” and “Super Male Vitality.”

PayPal did not cite specific examples of the offending content, and the company declined to comment beyond its statement when reached by The Washington Times.

“We do not take these actions lightly and we work hard to be rigorous and fair-minded,” PayPal said in the statement.

An article published by Infowars on Friday described PayPal’s decision as a “political ploy designed to financially sabotage an influential media outlet just weeks before the mid-term elections.”

“PayPal is akin to the public square of transactional commerce,” right-wing internet personality Paul Joseph Watson argued in the article. “It could be legally argued that their decision represents tortious interference, interference in interstate commerce and racketeering.”

PayPal has given Infowars 10 business days to switch providers, according to audio of a phone conversation uploaded by Infowars on Friday, at which point PayPal will place a “permanent limitation” on its account which cannot be appealed, a PayPal representative explained during the conversation.

“We knew if we told the truth they’d come after us,” Mr. Jones said in a video statement Friday. “Cancel PayPal.”

Services to ban accounts connected to either Infowars or Mr. Jones since last month include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Apple’s podcast app and Spotify, among others.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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