PayPal to put hate group funding under the microscope

PayPal application icon on Apple iPhone smartphone screen
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PayPal is launching a project investigating how hate groups and extremists use online financial platforms to fund themselves. It hopes to discover and disrupt the online financing of various white supremacist and anti-government organizations.

In this initiative, PayPal will partner with the nonprofit organization Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism.

PayPal will also investigate online financial networks profiting from racism, antisemitism, or Islamophobia, according Reuters.

PayPal pledged to share its findings with other firms in the financial industry, as well as the appropriate law enforcement officials and lawmakers.

“We're hoping to have an impact on fighting hatred and extremism, which sadly seems to be surging in society across the globe,” said Aaron Karczmer, PayPal’s chief risk officer. “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I know all too well the real world impact that come from hatred and extremist groups.”

Over the years, PayPal has worked to develop systems to help prevent illegal activity on its platform. The company said it has worked to shut down various extremist groups’ attempts to use PayPal.

The online payment giant has a partnership with non-profit group Polaris to combat human trafficking. And last year, it teamed up with criminologists and academics to research the payment systems used in illegal firearms trafficking.

The company says it hopes to have a positive social impact by sharing some of its capabilities.

“We have a unique opportunity to further understand how hate spreads and develop key insights that will inform the efforts of the financial industry, law enforcement, and our communities in mitigating extremist threats,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO.