By accessing this blog, you agree to the following terms:

Nothing you see here is intended or offered as legal advice. The author is not an attorney. These posts have been written for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or professional legal counsel. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this blog, the author, or the publisher, and you or any other user. Subscribers and readers should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

This is not a safe space. I reserve the right to write things you may agree or disagree with, like or dislike, over which you may feel uncomfortable or angry, or which you may find offensive. I also don't speak for anyone but myself. These are my observations and opinions. Don't attribute them to any group or person whose name isn't listed as an author of a post on this blog.

Reading past this point is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the above terms.

Predditors, PayPal, and Privacy

On the 20th of October, I sent the following message through PayPal's Contact Us form

I am writing in regard to the use of your charity "donate" button on a page of questionable legality and definitely not charitable nature.  

Predditors is a page dedicated to slandering people the page's proprietor does not like, under the guise of protecting the public. Identifying photos and information of individuals are posted on that page in association with unproved allegations which could negatively impact reputations, including to the detriment of employment prospects and other private-life factors.

I am appalled to see PayPal's name associated with this, and I hope that association only exists because you don't yet know what you are supporting.

I request that you consider the potential negative impact of the association of your company name with this abusive behavior. If PayPal considers internet slap fighting and personal attacks using private information to be forms of charity, then perhaps it is unwise to trust PayPal with one's financial transactions, which by nature include information most folks do not want publicized. Further, the idea that PayPal might support the public leveling of unproved allegations as a form of vigilante justice would indicate a lack of judgement and reasonability which could translate into a lack of trust in your ability to reasonably handle customer disputes.

Given the possibilities, I expect that you would want to address this situation as quickly and completely as possible, which is why I chose to write to you about the problem, rather than simply ignore the blog.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.
I admit, while the issues addressed in the email were important, they were not the only reason why I wrote. First, the blog targeted only men, despite the existence of female-oriented forums for the same behavior she was targeting. However, given the overall lack of concern the general public has for sexism when it is female on male, I felt that it would be more productive to point out the slanderous nature of the blog, and the fact that the allegations were unproved. In fact, some of those profiles listed don't exist, and those that do don't all have images posted to them like the ones shown in the blog, so if the folks from PayPal's team check to see if the listed information is accurate, they'll find that at least currently, it is not. Tumblr.com had apparently at some point decided that the blog did not violate their policy. The blog had been taken down, but when the site determined that the information was gathered from other publicly available online profiles (i.e., stalking) they reinstated it.

Upon clicking "send," the page switches to the following confirmation:
"Thanks for the note, and we'll do our best to get back to you within 24 hours. It might take a bit longer (depending on the question), but we try hard not to keep you waiting longer than 72 hours"

On the 25th, I got this:

Dear Gloria Sass,

Thank you for contacting PayPal’s Compliance Department. We have received your email and will update you when your account has been reviewed.

You can check the status of your PayPal account at any time by logging into your account and visiting the Resolution Center.

We may try to call you about your account, so please make sure that the primary phone number on your PayPal account is correct. Here's how to update your phone number:
1. Log in to your PayPal account.
2. Click "Profile" near the top of the page.
3. Click "Update" beside Phone.
4. Select the phone number you want to change.
5. Click "Edit" and make your changes.
6. Click "Save."
PayPal Compliance Department
PayPal, an eBay Company
Please do not reply to this email address as it is not monitored and we will not receive your response. You can get in touch with us by clicking "Contact Us" at the bottom of any PayPal page.
This was obviously a form letter that gets sent out to everyone who messages PayPal. It appeared that the company had yet to address the contents of the message I sent, or if they did, this reply is not in relation to that, considering I didn't message them from a paypal account, or mention having one of my own. I thought, maybe they're bogged down with other messages and issues, or maybe because I didn't connect the complaint to my account, they're ignoring it. Regardless, it seemed hypocritical that the same site which at one time took the donate button away from Regretsy when it was used for genuinely charitable reasons (don't fret - they made up for it) was allowing its use on a slander blog. I waited, hoping this was not the last communication I would receive.

On the 30th, I got my answer in another email with a partial form answer:

Dear Gloria Sass,

Thank you for contacting PayPal and reporting a possible violation of our Acceptable Use Policy.

We will thoroughly review the mentioned website and possible linked PayPal accounts and take further action as appropriate in this case.

Due to data protection we cannot provide details regarding the result of this review or its possible consequences and hope for your understanding in this regard. As a matter of course your information will be kept in confidence.
We thank you for your active support of PayPal and appreciate the information that you provided.

The complete Acceptable Use Policy can be found at the following URL:
So... I visited the link to see if anything in that policy specifically applied to the activities of the Predditors blog. I've bolded the relevant text for emphasis.

Prohibited Activities
You may not use the PayPal service for activities that:
  1. violate any law, statute, ordinance or regulation.
  2. relate to transactions involving (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety, (b) drug paraphernalia, (c) items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity, (d) stolen goods including digital and virtual goods (e) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime, (f) items that are considered obscene, (g) items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction, (h) certain sexually oriented materials or services, (i) ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories, or (j) ,certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law.
  3. relate to transactions that (a) show the personal information of third parties in violation of applicable law, (b) support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, other "get rich quick" schemes or certain multi-level marketing programs, (c) are associated with purchases of annuities or lottery contracts, lay-away systems, off-shore banking or transactions to finance or refinance debts funded by a credit card, (d) are for the sale of certain items before the seller has control or possession of the item, (e) are by payment processors to collect payments on behalf of merchants, (f), are associated with the sale of traveler's checks or money orders, (h) involve currency exchanges or check cashing businesses, or (i) involve certain credit repair, debt settlement services, credit transactions or insurance activities.
There is every possibility that despite their policy's wording, PayPal will do the same, deciding that it's acceptable for the owner of Predditors to continue to profit from her slanderous material. There is also the possibility that they will decide they do not want their name associated with such behavior. Whichever it is, we'll probably never know, as the mysterious tumblr predator who profits from pulling profiles has decided to take extra measures to protect her privacy:

Since I received that last message, the blog has gone private and requires a password to be seen.

Go figure.

No comments:

With one click... help hungry and homeless veterans. The Veterans Site.

google-site-verification: googlefdd91f1288e37cb4.html