GoFundMe Policies

GoFundMe’s Updated Terms Totally Forgot About Their Whole Ban on Abortion Campaigns

Bailey's abortion

Perhaps we should give it a rest seeing as today is the Lord’s day and all but hey, you know us, ever vigilant.

A few folks have forwarded us this screenshot going around, so we wanted to dig into it lest we get sent the same screenshot for a 15th time. The following comes from a Terms of Service/Privacy Policy update published on the GoFundMe site:

GoFundMe new ToS

Let’s start with this:

We’ve updated the User Conduct section of the Terms of Service in a few ways, mostly to further restrict the use of our platform to create campaigns that are misleading and to heighten the prohibition of campaigns that promote intolerance of any kind.

Here’s an archived copy of the GoFundMe Terms of Service effective April 29, 2015, and an exhausting but not exhaustive list of items forbidden on its platform at that time:

  • Sexually explicit material
  • Sexually suggestive material
  • Adult services or products
  • Pornography of any kind
  • Material relating to adult industry
  • Campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts
  • Content associated with hate groups or terrorist organizations
  • Campaigns including inflammatory or accusatory statements
  • Underage consumption or abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or narcotics
  • Drug abuse, products or paraphernalia
  • The illegal purchase or use of marijuana
  • Offering equity or return-on-investment
  • Pyramid or ponzi schemes, “get rich quick” schemes
  • Purchases of annuities, investments, equity or lottery contracts
  • Offshore banking or currency exchanges
  • Betting, gambling, raffles, or sweepstakes
  • Exchange of unrecognized or crypto-currencies
  • Offering monetary rewards, including gift cards
  • Non-medical or violent bodily mutilation
  • Non-prescribed drug use or purchase
  • Graphic content of injuries or procedures
  • Procedures conducted outside of an accredited medical institution
  • Directly funding an abortion (human or animal)
  • The purchase, transfer or production of non-FDA approved ingestible or consumable products and services
  • Hurtful or hateful language
  • Violent or hateful material
  • Materials including bigotry, racism, sexism, or profanity
  • Supporting or inciting treasonous behavior
  • False, misleading, dishonest statements
  • Blood, gore, graphic material
  • Sorcery, unexplained sciences or absurd claims
  • Funding or planning an assassination, suicide, or assisted suicide
  • Ending the life of an animal
  • The purchase, transfer, or exchange of weapons of any kind including guns, knives, explosives and ammunition
  • Campaigns in support of rebel groups, militias, gangs, or any organized violence

We’ll admit, “Sorcery, unexplained sciences or absurd claims” kind of made us laugh.

Anyhoo, fast-forward to 2016. The updated GoFundMe terms and conditions have changed quite a bit compared to those of 2015, but still aren’t intended to serve as a be all end all list of the nonsense that GoFundMe doesn’t want on its site:

[Y]ou agree to not use the Services to:

  • establish or contribute to any Campaign with the implicit or express purpose relating to any of the following:
  • any activity that violates any law or governmental regulation;
  • content or campaigns that are fraudulent, misleading, inaccurate, dishonest, impossible or imitating any other person or fundraising campaign (whether on the Platform or not);
  • illegal drugs, narcotics, steroids, controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety or any related paraphernalia;
  • knives, explosives, ammunition, firearms, or other weaponry or accessories;
  • annuities, investments, equity or lottery contracts, lay-away systems, off-shore banking or similar transactions, money service businesses (including currency exchanges, check cashing or the like), debt collection or crypto-currencies;
  • gambling, gaming and/or any other activity with an entry fee and a prize, including, but not limited to casino games, sports betting, fantasy sports, horse or greyhound racing, lottery tickets, other ventures that facilitate gambling, games of skill or chance (whether or not it is legally defined as a lottery) or sweepstakes;
  • the promotion of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, or serious disabilities or diseases;
  • activities with, in, or involving countries, regions, governments, persons, or entities that are subject to U.S. and other economic sanctions under applicable law, unless such activities are expressly authorized by the appropriate governmental authority;
  • ransom, human trafficking or exploitation;
  • pornography or other sexual content;
  • offensive, graphic, perverse or sensitive content;
  • the defense or support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity;
  • offering monetary rewards, including gift cards;
  • transactions for the sale of items before the seller has control or possession of the item;
  • collection of payments on behalf of merchants by payment processors or otherwise; or
  • credit repair or debt settlement services.

You’ll notice there is no longer a special entry barring abortion campaigns — a provision which GoFundMe got a bunch of shit for in 2014 after it shut down a page seeking to crowdfund her pregnancy termination — nor a specific entry for ending the life of an animal. It remains to be seen if this omission was intentional on their part; we can pretty safely assume their legal team thoroughly covered their butts on this one. We’re guessing “sensitive content” could potentially include abortion talk, but who knows.

It’s also worth noting that GoFundMe reserves the right — just as in the past — to remove any campaign for any reason. Which means that they technically can still kill your abortion campaign (no pun), but they aren’t blatantly forbidding it.

Also worth noting are some changes to how GoFundMe allows you to use the “intellectual property” of others, but we’ll dig into that part in a follow-up post.