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Civil rights petitioners accuse Amazon, PayPal of hate group ties

Civil rights advocates are demanding that Amazon and PayPal stop funding neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups through their websites.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Amazon and PayPal of doing business with organizations that it classifies as hate groups, and more than 45,000 protesters are petitioning the Internet giants to cut their ties to the groups.

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Many hate groups have signed up for Amazon’s affiliate program to direct customers to their website, according to an investigation by the civil rights group. 

Through the program, any website that posts advertisements or links referring customers to the online retail giant is compensated with a small percentage of the sale. According to the report, one of the hate groups made nearly $20,000 from Amazon through this program.

PayPal then processes the payments from Amazon for 69 hate groups, according to the SPLC report.

“It breaks my heart to see violence and hatred alive and well in 2015,” said Nathan Empsall, who started the petition. “Amazon and PayPal have the ability to severely disrupt this country’s radical hate groups and limit their reach. It’s appalling that they haven’t done so already, even while giving lip service to equality and nonviolence.”

The petitioners are asking Amazon and PayPal to stop unknowingly doing business with these hate groups and to be more careful about who it selects as business partners going forward.

“PayPal has removed some hate groups from its service, but not all,” according to the petitioners.

Amazon and PayPal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.