PayPal and Shopify remove Trump-related accounts, citing policies against supporting violence

Official MAGA merchandise is no longer for sale through Shopify from Trump-associated stores, and an account that supported Trump supporters who traveled to DC is deactivated.

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Laura Hautala
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Shopify has removed stores associated with President Donald Trump, saying he violated its rules prohibiting the support of violence.

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Online commerce and payment services have stopped the flow of money to Trump-related accounts in light of Wednesday's insurrection at the US Capitol. Software maker Shopify removed stores affiliated with President Donald Trump from its platform, and payment processor PayPal shut down an account raising funds for Trump supporters who traveled to Washington, DC.

The moves come the day after a mob of Trump supporters took over the US Capitol, forcing an evacuation of the building before lawmakers could finish recording electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election, won by Joe Biden. The account takedowns follow freezes on Trump's social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

It's not the first time tech companies have removed accounts for far-right groups. Airbnb deactivated users who hosted parties for a Unite the Right white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. The same year, Cloudflare ended its technical services to the Daily Stormer website, a white supremacist publication, after the site claimed that Cloudflare supported its ideology.

Shopify said Thursday that the Trump stores, affiliated with the Trump campaign and Trump Organization, violated its policies prohibiting users from promoting or supporting organizations that foment violence.

"Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence," a spokesperson said in a statement. "Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause."

Read more: Will Trump be impeached a second time? What to know and where the situations stands

The Trump campaign didn't respond to a request for comment. The Trump Organization's press email address appeared to be defunct, returning an error message in response to a request for comment.

PayPal said the group raising money for Trump supporters, called Joy In Liberty, also violated its rules. "PayPal carefully reviews accounts to ensure our services are used in line with our long-standing policy," the company said. "We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence or other forms of intolerance." The same policy applies to PayPal-owned Venmo, which Joy In Liberty also lists as a payment option.

The Joy In Liberty website features a form for "patriots" to request funds, and another where supporters can donate to "help patriots fulfill their dreams." The website also lists testimonials from people who used funds raised by Joy In Liberty to pay for travel to DC.

Joy In Liberty didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Zelle and the Cash app are also listed as payment options on the group's website. A company spokesperson said Zelle is investigating the situation and pointed to the user service agreement, which says, "Zelle prohibits use of our service to send or receive money for activities that promote violence, intolerance and hate."

Cash didn't respond to a request for comment on whether they would continue processing payments for Joy In Liberty.

Facing criticism for spreading Trump's messages supporting the insurrection Wednesday, social networks also removed content related to the president. Facebook first temporarily froze Trump's account and then announced Thursday it had blocked Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely. Twitter suspended Trump's account and demanded the deletion of three tweets it said violated its rules. Snapchat also locked Trump's account.