UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 15, 2021
On February 12, PayPal has blocked SouthFront’s account (email@example.com), which has been used by us to collect donations for over the past years. Now we cannot receive direct donations or transactions through our PayPal account (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The formal reason is that there were signs of alleged commercial activity on our account. Obviously, this is false.
This claim is nothing more than a formal pretext. SouthFront has not made any new transactions or unusual activity via this account. All activity was completely transparent and typical, as in all previous years.
The blocking of the PayPal account is a one more example of the unprecedented pressure that SouthFront Team faces. As this case shows, in recent months, this pressure evolved in new forms.
As you know, in 2020, Google Ads already blocked SouthFront’s account used to run ads on southfront.org to support our monthly donation budget. Then, the system also frozen the funds collected for about 1.5 months.
On top of this, in 2020, mainstream social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) launched a coordinated censorship campaign against SouthFront. They blocked our main accounts and even banned links to southfront.org on Facebook and Instagram.
The US State Department and then Secretary of State Mr. Mike Pompeo also presented a lengthy report, “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem”. At least 13 of the 77 pages of this report were dedicated to SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence as a “pillar” of Russian disinformation and propaganda.
Roughly speaking, SouthFront work and independent coverage of topical questions of the international agenda were causing a strong butthurt even among members of the previous US administration. The scale of hysteria of the current neo-liberal/globalist leadership of the US over our work can be easily imagined.
Despite the unprecedented pressure from the powerful foes, SouthFront was not destroyed. Yes, we lost a part of our audience reach and suffered a particular damage. However, we were able to continue our work thanks to your support.
Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world read, watch and share SouthFront content. The ongoing censorship campaign contributed to the strengthening of SouthFront credibility as an independent source of coverage and analyses. Expectedly, this causes a concern among our ill-wishers.
The blocking of SouthFront’s PayPal account (email@example.com) became an expected development in a long series of hostile actions against our team.
Nonetheless, this move still damaged our organization. The amount blocked on the account includes all the existing SouthFront reserves.
On February 15, we had a phone conversation with a PayPal Support Team employee and the situation became fully clear. The decision to censor SouthFront was politically and ideologically motivated. It was not related to any SouthFront activity in the payment system.
In particular, PayPal declared that it will not allow us to refund donations of people that supported SouthFront. This happened regardless the fact that PayPal takes a notable fee (~8%) for every donation.
This goes contrary to PayPal’s own policies. Furthermore, the information that SouthFront should be able to refund received transactions was officially provided by PayPal in an email regarding the suspension of our account. It was said that in our case PayPal will not follow its own terms of service without any additional explanation.
Also, during our phone conversation with PayPal employee, the PayPal representative accidentally leaked information that the formal pretext to impose limitations on SouthFront’s account was not the real reason but the kind of ‘approximation’ to the real reason. PayPal declared that it will take no actions in response to our appeal and will reject any legal claims.
In this difficult moment, we urge you to support SouthFront in all possible ways.
We ask people who donated to SouthFront via PayPal in the previous months to create tickets demanding the immediate removal of all the limitations from SouthFront’s PayPal account (firstname.lastname@example.org). The draft text of the appeal that can be used for this:
I, Name Surname, demand PayPal to immediately remove all the limitations from SouthFront’s PayPal account (email@example.com).
All the funds that I sent to firstname.lastname@example.org were free-will, irregular donations. I did not require any actions from the account’s owner for these funds. My donations were sent to support the group of authors united by the brand of SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence.
Dear friends, we temporarily lost the ability to receive direct donations via PayPal. Nonetheless, you still can use PayPal to donate to SouthFront via our Donation Alerts page: https://www.donationalerts.com/r/southfront
We ask all concerned people that want to support our work to make donations via Donation Alerts, Patreon or cryptocurrencies.
WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT, SOUTHFRONT WORK WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE:
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Donate via VISA, PayPal, Paysafecard, Bitcoin and other options.
SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence Team