After violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, several mainstream payment companies pledged to sever ties with groups or individuals promoting hate and violence.
Stripe, PayPal and Square said that they had stopped providing services to individuals and organizations connected to the riot as part of a sweeping enforcement of policies against inciting violence.
But extremism experts say it’s too little, too late. The flurry of activity and public pledges follows years of efforts by extremism and brand safety experts to get payment companies to better police their platforms to ensure they don’t let hate groups receive direct donations or provide them payment tools for selling merchandise.
“It’s unfortunate it takes these acts of violence for them to take white nationalism seriously,” said Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, senior campaigns director of Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group. “It’s only when we have armed insurrectionists storm the Capitol building, urinate in people’s offices, steal their computers and kill a member of the Capitol Police that they see it as a big enough issue.”
On Sunday, Stripe said it had stopped processing payments for President Donald Trump’s campaign website because it violated its policies against inciting violence.
On Monday, PayPal stopped providing payment tools to GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site that helped raise money for people who attended last week’s Capitol riots, said PayPal spokesperson Justin Higgs. GiveSendGo also raised money for the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, charged with killing two protesters last August in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio.
Higgs said that the company works “to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments for activities that promote hate speech, violence or other forms of intolerance” and that it regularly reviews accounts for prohibited activity. The company is currently reviewing accounts associated with last week’s riots for possible termination, he added.
GiveSendGo’s founder Jacob Wells said PayPal’s account of what happened was not accurate and that GiveSendGo decided to stop using PayPal after receiving a request from the payment processor to “censor” some campaigns.
“We broke up first lol,” he wrote in an email to NBC News.
Wells also clarified that while the site does not raise money for campaigns, someone created a fundraising campaign on the site to fund people to attend the events at the capitol.
Square, a mobile payments processor, continually monitors accounts that may promote violence, discrimination or dehumanization, according to a company spokesperson who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of safety concerns. But following the riots at the Capitol, the company deactivated accounts affiliated with those events, the spokesperson added.
More traditional banking institutions are also reconsidering some customer relationships following the Capitol…
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