- PayPal has suspended a Ku Klux Klan fundraising account after it was flagged online.
- The account was first spotted by Nandini Jammi from Sleeping Giants, an online campaign group that pressures advertisers from advertising next to racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, or homophobic content on news outlets.
- Jammi told the BBC that it was an “alarmingly common” way for white nationalist groups to raise funds.
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PayPal has suspended a Ku Klux Klan fundraising account after it was flagged online.
The account was first spotted by Nandini Jammi from Sleeping Giants, an internet-based group that is dedicated to stopping racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic news sites by stopping their ad dollars.
Jammi noticed that a white supremacist organization called the Loyal White Knights was promoting a link to a PayPal account and asking people to make donations.
The Anti-Defamation League describes the Loyal White Knights as “one of the largest and most active Klan groups in the United States,” with approximately 100 members. The group blends a mix of neo-Nazi beliefs with Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and racist views, the ADL says.
Jammi told the BBC that PayPal was still an “alarmingly common” way for white nationalist groups to raise funds.
“I’ve been tracking hate groups on PayPal for several months now,” she said. “I was just Googling for a new example and I kind of knew all I had to do was type in KKK.”
Jammi criticized PayPal for taking nearly a week to suspend this account after she flagged it. She told the BBC she was concerned that PayPal was not able to act “quickly and decisively” on hate groups.
Certainly PayPal has been trying to crack down on white supremacist groups for at least three years. In 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center research director Heidi Beirich described the site as the “banking system of the hate movement.”
After sustained pressure and in the wake of the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, PayPal pledged to close any sites that accepted payments or tried to raise funds to promote hate, violence, and intolerance.
“There are some examples of them acting in a fairly timely manner,” Jammi told the BBC. “But they’re not applying [the anti-hate policy] in a consistent enough manner.”
In a tweet Tuesday, Sleeping Giants also criticized PayPal for not spotting the account on its own: “Good that @PayPal suspended the KKK’s account, but pretty crazy that a volunteer campaign on social media needs to do this job for companies making hundreds of millions of dollars.”
A representative for PayPal did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Social-media users have also pointed out that the Loyal White Knights’ PayPal account was set up with a Google email address. A representative for Google told Business Insider it was investigating this.
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