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PayPal CEO says he received death threats after banning accounts that sent mob to the Capitol

February 5, 2021, 3:47 PM UTC

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman is standing by his company’s controversial actions to ban certain activity from its payment platforms.

The company maintains an “acceptable use policy,” which means “they can’t advocate violence, hatred, or racial intolerance,” Schulman said at a Fortune virtual event Thursday.

Schulman said that navigating “the fine line between what is hatred and what is free speech and who do we allow to fundraise using PayPal or Venmo, and who don’t we” is “one of the hardest things that we have to do.”

But he emphasized his commitment to enforcing that policy despite the backlash that often comes with it.

“Once you go down the path and say, ‘This is what we stand for,’ you have to live up to that every single day, even if it becomes quite uncomfortable, even if it results in a ton of different death threats, which we have all the time,” Schulman said.

Following the breach of the Capitol by a violent mob of supporters of Donald Trump in January, PayPal closed accounts of groups that had funneled money to those who stormed Washington, D.C. Under Schulman’s leadership, the payments company also moved to block those affiliated with white supremacist and other hate groups from using its payments platform in the past few years.

Those decisions have drawn criticism from both inside and outside the company, he added.

“Yes, we know for a fact that not all of our 40,000 employees agree with what we’re doing,” Schulman said. “And based on the number of hate emails we get, we certainly know that every customer doesn’t agree with the actions we’re taking as well.”

PayPal is not the only tech or financial company to restrict use of its products in the name of violence in recent weeks. Amazon and Apple cut off use of its cloud services and App Store, respectively, by Parler, an app where violent discussions flourished. Meanwhile Stripe, another payments processor, ceased handling payments to the Trump campaign account.