GoFundMe recently came under fire for the way they've handled the Freedom Convoy donation page on their platform. They originally announced that they were going to redistribute the funds to other charities. Upon facing the backlash, they have changed their minds.
On February 4, GoFundMe penned a letter stating that they were refusing to release anymore of the donations received on their platform for the Freedom Convoy truckers who have spent the last couple weeks protesting coronavirus vaccine mandates in Canada. The group had raised $10 million CAD and $1 million of that had already been released to the truckers. But GoFundMe cited "promotion of violence" as a reason for them to withhold the rest of the funds.
GoFundMe Originally Planned to Redistribute the Funds
"Following a review of relevant facts and multiple discussions with local law enforcement and city officials, this fundraiser is now in violation of our Terms of Service (Term 8, which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment) and has been removed from the platform," GoFundMe wrote in their initial blog post.
Even more upsetting was what GoFundMe planned to do with the money donated to the truckers. "We will work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities chosen by the Freedom Convoy 2022 organizers and verified by GoFundMe," they wrote.
They offered an opportunity for individuals to request a refund of their donations but the automatic action was going to be redistributing the money to charities of their choice.
GoFundMe Has Backtracked on This Decision
Naturally, people were not happy with this announcement. Countless people, including many of those who donated to the cause, expressed anger about this decision. Florida governor Ron DeSantis was at the forefront of the conversation, insisting that this was fraud on GoFundMe's part.
"It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing," DeSantis wrote.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also chimed in. "Patriotic Texans donated to Canadian truckers’ worthy cause using GoFundMe. This BLM-backing company went woke, froze the funds, & failed to deliver Texans’ money," Paxton said. "Today I assembled a team to investigate their potential fraud & deception. Texas donors will get Justice!"
Apparently this was enough to scare GoFundMe straight. Hours later, the company backtracked on their original decision and said they would automatically refund everyone who donated to the Freedom Convoy. Funny how the threat of a fraud investigation can suddenly make companies do the right thing.