PayPal terminated accounts linked to a Russian influence operation disguised as a news website
PayPaltold Business Insider it had terminated at least four accounts linked to a Russian influence operation exposed on Tuesday.
- Business Insider obtained the list of accounts from freelance writers who said they had been duped into writing for the Russian operation, which posed as a progressive website called Peace Data.
- Writers told Business Insider they were paid about $100 an article, with each PayPal transaction linked to a separate Gmail account.
PayPal has terminated multiple accounts linked to a recently uncovered Russian influence operation that is said to have paid US and British writers for content aimed at influencing progressives and sowing discord in the West, Business Insider has learned.
On Tuesday, Facebook announced it was suspending a page linked to the website Peace Data following a tip from the
In actuality, the site's operators paid only $100 an article, the writer said, providing Business Insider a screenshot of PayPal transactions. Another writer also confirmed receiving $100 via the online-payment website. Each transaction was linked to a separate Gmail account.PayPal, after being provided a list of accounts on its site linked to Russian activity, said it had picked up on suspicious activity associated with the accounts, which have now been terminated.
"PayPal has been actively investigating this matter and we have taken swift action to restrict the accounts in question," a company representative said in a statement to Business Insider.The company has an internal team that works "to detect, investigate, and act to prevent potentially unlawful activity on our platforms," the person said, and "remains committed to working with law enforcement in support of their efforts to combat global illicit activities." In a post following its outing, Peace Data said it was "shocked and appalled" by the suggestion — now leveled by the FBI,
The site's purported editor, "Jake Sullivan," the name of a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, did not respond to a request for comment. His photo appears on just one other website: a Russian shipping company, where he is identified as a satisfied customer named "Sergey."
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