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PayPal Has Become an Episode of Black Mirror: Elon Musk

The “PayPal Mafia,” which includes co-founders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, has blasted the payments platform’s “totalitarian” debanking tactics.

PayPal’s previous leadership, dubbed the “PayPal Mafia,” has lambasted the payments giant’s recent debanking policy, with one co-founder calling the freezing of cash “totalitarian” and another comparing it to an episode of Black Mirror.

Despite becoming more crypto-friendly in recent years, the payments tech behemoth has received a lot of attention and criticism for its de-platforming practices, which reportedly involve a rather abrupt process of freezing funds, fines, and frosty negotiations to unlock its users’ accounts for various reasons.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal in 1998 and CEO until 2002, told The Free Press (TFP) on December 14 that the company’s mission has evolved dramatically away from its founding purpose of providing global people more control over their money.

“If the online forms of your money are blocked, it’s like economically hurting people, reducing their ability to exercise their political voice,” Thiel said, adding, “There’s something about economically destroying people that feels like a lot more dictatorial thing.”

Thiel is known as the “Don” of the famed “PayPal Mafia,” a collection of founders and former workers, including Elon Musk, who have gone on to create or work at other important software businesses.

David Sacks, a PayPal Mafia member and the company’s original CEO, has also spoken out against PayPal’s deplatorming tactics in recent years.

Sacks told TFP that PayPal, under current CEO Dan Schulman’s leadership, is attempting to cash in on the woke culture trend by excluding those with opposing viewpoints.

“The CEO [Schulman] has like every woke award you can get,” Sacks observed, adding, “It’s a symbiotic relationship—he executes their agenda, and they give him prizes, and that furthers him up the corporate totem pole of woke capitalism.”

To name a few, PayPal has deplatformed accounts associated with the censorship-free Freedom Phone venture, news website Consortium News, the Free Speech Union, and the skeptical blog The Daily Sceptic. All of which may be seen as leaning right politically, or as having opposing viewpoints.

Elon Musk, the now-CEO of Twitter as well as the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, responded to the Free Press story by saying that the platform has become an episode of Black Mirror — a British television series that generally depicts some type of dystopian future where humans are dominated by technology.

With the possibility of deplatforming looming for some, cryptocurrency supporters have naturally promoted the “Bitcoin cures this” narrative, owing to the network’s decentralization and censorship resilience.

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