PayPal and the Anti-Defamation League have announced plans to partner on grasping how extremists use online financial platforms to fund their activities and on “disrupting” such usage.
The payment processor and anti-hate group announced the partnership Monday, calling it a research effort to better understand and address the issue.
“PayPal and ADL will focus on further uncovering and disrupting the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements,” the groups explained in a press release touting the new initiative.
The effort will be led by ADL’s Center on Extremism and will focus on anti-government organizations and other actors and networks that spread and profit from “all forms of hate and bigotry,” they said.
“By identifying partners across sectors with common goals and complementary resources, we can make an even greater impact than any of us could do on our own,” said Aaron Karczmer, PayPal‘s chief risk officer.
PayPal prohibits using its services for illegal activity, as well as any transactions involving “the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime.” It has previously used that rule and others to ban users on all sides of the political spectrum, ranging from the Proud Boys group to local Antifa chapters around the U.S.
The company is not without competition, however, and criminal extremists have been able to overcome policies imposed by PayPal and others banning hateful, discriminatory activity.
“We have a unique opportunity to further understand how hate spreads and develop key insights that will inform the efforts of the financial industry, law enforcement and our communities in mitigating extremist threats,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
Appearing on CNBC, Mr. Greenblatt said ADL and PayPal are collaborating to “understand how extremists exploit online platforms to fundraise, to move money and to enable some of their illicit activities.
“We’ve been working with PayPal for years, and we’re going to help them to better understand and learn, again, how extremist groups and hate movements are trying to leverage the financial system, so we can disrupt those activities,” Mr. Greenblatt said Tuesday on the network’s “Squawk Box” show.
“This isn’t about de-platforming people based on their politics but disrupting extremists who abuse online services to break the law and spread hate,” Mr. Greenblat said on social media.
Critics of each party were quick to raise concerns about the potential consequences of the initiative, however.
“The problem here is that @PayPal and @ADL consider anyone to the right of Nancy Pelosi an extremist,” conservative blogger Erick Erickson said on Twitter.