Extremist experts criticize payment companies

Violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, with several mainstream payment companies vowing to break ties with groups or individuals promoting hate and violence.

Stripe, Peeple and Square said they had stopped providing services to individuals and organizations connected to the riot as part of a wider enforcement of policies against inciting violence.

But extremist experts say it is too little, too late. The havoc of activity and public pledges follows years of extremism and the efforts of brand safety experts to pay companies better policing to ensure they do not receive direct donations to hate groups or pay them to sell merchandise Do not provide equipment.

“It is unfortunate that for them to take white nationalism seriously is violence,” said Jade Magnus Ogunyake, senior campaign director for Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group. “It is only when we have armed rebels storming the Capitol building, urinate in people’s offices, steal their computers and kill a member of the Capitol Police that they see this as a big enough issue. “

On Sunday, Stripe said it had halted processing payments for President Donald Trump’s campaign website because it violated its policies against inciting violence.

PayPal spokesman Justin Higgs said that on Monday, PayPal stopped offering payment tools to Peplego, a Christian crowdfunding site that helped raise money for people participating in the capital riots that took place last week. GiveSendGo also raised money for the legal defense of Kyle Retenhouse, Last August in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he was charged with killing two protesters and killing Proud Boys leader Enrique Terrio.

Higgs said the company “works to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments to promote hate-spreading activities, violence or other forms of intolerance” and that it is routinely prohibited Reviews accounts for activity. He said that the company is currently reviewing accounts related to the previous week’s riots for possible termination.

GiveSendGo founder Jacob Wells said that what happened to PayPal’s account was not correct and that GiveSendGo decided to stop using PayPal after receiving a request from the payment processor to “censor” certain campaigns.

“We broke the first lol,” he wrote in an email to NBC News.

Wells also clarified that while the site did not raise funds for campaigns, someone created a fundraising campaign on the site to fund people to attend events at the Capitol.

Square, a mobile payment processor, constantly monitors accounts that may promote violence, discrimination, or dehumanization, according to a company spokesperson who spoke on the status of anonymity out of security concerns. The spokesman said that after the riots at the Capitol, the company deactivated the accounts associated with those incidents.

More traditional banking institutions are rethinking some customer relationships after the capital riots. American Express told NBC News that it could cancel relationships with merchants that are “harmful to our brand, engage in illegal behavior or violate the terms and conditions of our merchant agreements.”

delayed response

But experts tracking the fundraising ability of hate groups over the years questioned why it took so long to make these changes

“I am glad that they are taking a stand. But it seems too little, too late, ”Ogunayake said, noting that the Color of Change alarm has been ringing for years.

In 2017 the non-beneficiary launched a campaign called Blood Money, in which white nationalist and hegemonic websites were identified and attempted to disrupt their funding system.

“We were given the runway. Financial companies completely ignored us or said that the amount of money raised through their platforms was so small that it was not important, ”she said. “Then Charlottesville happened and we see the real-life implications of white nationalist digital organizing.”

“I am not impressed”, said Michael Hayden, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a pattern of “weird-a-mole” efforts by tech companies that followed violent incidents in the past five years.

“From time to time there are spring in which it becomes almost impossible to ignore the subject of far-reaching extremism. Bad press becomes a driving factor and companies take responsibility for specific accounts rather than changing their overall policies or bringing in people who can moderate their service with levels of sophistication and care, ”he said.

Hayden said there were similar cracks after the fatal “right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and mass shootings at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018; In mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019; And in August 2019 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

He said last week’s invasion of the Capitol “has discussed the serious connection between the free market and far-right extremism, which is not being discussed.”

“We have people with mall-wear t-shirts advertising a civil war while they engage in rebellion. Hats you’ll love to wear to a child’s Little League game. Where are they getting this stuff from? “Hayden said.” You have legal content on Amazon. This hatred and extremism is being sold by these vendors on these platforms.

The company said on Monday that Amazon has started removing items related to QAnon this week.

Change feelings

But Nandini Jammi, a brand safety consultant who runs a campaign dedicated to profanity of abusive language and disruptive, was more expected.

“I never thought I’d live to see the day when Stripe would ban the president,” she said. “Tech companies have assured us that they are a public utility available to everyone, and for the first time they have come to terms with the fact that they have to draw a line somewhere, because where we are is not sustainable.”

Hayden also said that payment companies have financial benefits that are paying off in the end. “Taking aggressive steps to ensure that your company is not promoting an underwriting affects me as being a good business,” he said.

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