Britain’s Ministry of Finance is launching a probe into whether authorised payments companies in the country are censoring their customers.
This became clear after the ministry addressed recent cases where media accounts were terminated by some firms licensed to provide payments and e-money services in the UK.
The ministry outlined that such instances can be viewed as limiting freedom of expression of both individuals and organisations which is hindering an otherwise ‘innovative and internationally recognised payments sector’.
The review will aim to establish whether more than 1,000 authorised firms in the UK need to update their policies to include clearer guidelines when it comes to permanently or temporarily deactivating a user’s account.
“As a minimum, it is the government’s view that, without deviation, a notice-period and fair and open communication with a customer must apply in situations which relate to termination on grounds other than suspected or actual criminal offences or when otherwise allowed by law,” the ministry said.
Specific attention was given to PayPal and the firm’s recent spree of account terminations where it took down alternative views outlets the Daily Sceptic and the Free Speech Union from its network.
The ministry said that the lack of detailed public reasoning behind those two instances is concerning, fueling the argument that services were withdrawn due to the expressed opinions by the two organisations.
“The government believes that free speech within the law, and the legitimate expression of differing views, is an important British liberty,” the ministry’s statement further reads. “The government does not support ‘cancel culture’ – the censorship of views due to an intolerance of dissenting opinion.”
Similar concerns were recently raised by activist platform Tulipshare where it called for increased transparency from PayPal when it comes to dealing with accounts of certain social groups.