PayPal Prudes Punish Pornhub Professionals

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Free speech seems like a tricky issue, but it’s not. You want there to be nuance so you can ban speech you don’t like, and you’ll say things like “so Nazis should just be free to say racist things?” and yes, they absolutely should. Because once you start to ban speech you don’t like, someone is going to use the power you gave them to do that to ban speech you do like.

With today’s news that they’re not letting Pornhub pay out content creators through their service anymore, PayPal has given a really good example of why this is so important.

A couple of years ago, bowing to public pressure, PayPal decided to crack down on racists using their platform. Seems like a great idea, right? Racism is bad, we don’t like white nationalists, if we just exclude them from commerce we can starve them out. A lot of people, myself included, wanted PayPal to remain a value-neutral payment processor for the exact reason that it’s impossible to tell what they could be pressured into kicking off their service next once the door is open.

Today we found out that PayPal is kicking Pornhub off. Reuters had statements from both companies about what happened.

“Following a review, we have discovered that PornHub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring,” PayPal said in an email statement.

What permission do they actually need? Does everyone who uses PayPal need to ask pretty please if they can send people money?

PornHub, owned by Luxembourg-headquartered company MindGeek, said it was “devastated by PayPal’s decision to stop payouts to over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods”.

We’re in a puritanical moment right now. Kanye West has gone Christian and he’s anti-porn and it seems like the left and right are working together to make masturbating as hard as possible for us decent normal folk.

And if you’re sitting there thinking “well, I hate both Nazis and porn, this all seems good to me,” well… what do you like and what makes you think it won’t find itself on the chopping block?



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