EXCLUSIVE: Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines is blasting PayPal for its walked-back policy that threatened to fine users up to $2,500 for using the service to "promote misinformation," calling it "Orwellian."
PayPal updated its Acceptable Use Policy effective Nov. 3, which expanded "prohibited activities," including the "ending, posting, or publication of messages, content, or materials that meet certain criteria."
Each violation of the Acceptable Use Policy could result in "liquidated damages of $2,500.00," which would be withdrawn directly from a user's account.
One of the violations, according to the previous agreement, states that users "may not" use PayPal to promote misinformation.
After the Acceptable Use Policy received pushback on Twitter from people such as former PayPal President David Marcus and Tesla CEO and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, PayPal told FOX Business on Oct. 8 the policy was sent out "in error" and said the "misinformation" portion would be removed.
"An AUP notice recently went out in error that included incorrect information. PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy," a PayPal spokesperson said. "Our teams are working to correct our policy pages. We’re sorry for the confusion this has caused."
Daines said the walked-back "misinformation" policy is "truly Orwellian" in a comment to FOX Business.
"PayPal declaring themselves the arbiter of truth and threatening to fine users if they step out of line with the woke whims of the day is truly Orwellian," Daines said. "The more that these big tech companies and financial institutions creep in on the personal beliefs of their users, the more Americans will lose trust."
Daines added that while he's happy to see PayPal remove the policy, it needs to answer questions.
"There are still questions to be answered, and we must hold them accountable," Daines said.
Daines, along with several other Republican senators, including Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., sent a letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman on Oct. 14 expressing "deep concern" about the now-removed policy and asked how "PayPal allowed a policy such as this to move forward in the first place."
Responding to PayPal's claim that the "misinformation" portion of the policy was "never intended to be inserted," the senators wrote, "if accurate, this statement indicates an astonishing lack of internal oversight at PayPal."
The Republican senators want to know who wrote the Acceptable Use Policy change, how the "misinformation" policy wound up in a "finalized update," as well as asking if PayPal can provide "assurances" that it won't punish users for promoting statements that the company views as "misinformation."
"Greater encroachment by large technology and financial companies into public speech will only exacerbate Americans' increasing mistrust of such institutions," the senators wrote.
FOX Business reached out to PayPal for comment, but didn't receive a response.