GoFundMe’s Terms of Service prohibit raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime. In light of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, we want to clarify when and why we removed certain fundraisers in the past.
Once charges for a violent crime were brought against Kyle Rittenhouse in 2020, GoFundMe removed fundraisers that were started for the defendant’s legal defense. We did this as part of our regular monitoring efforts; in addition to those fundraisers, our Trust & Safety team removed hundreds of other fundraisers between August and December 2020 — unrelated to Rittenhouse — that we determined were in violation of this long-standing policy.
If someone is acquitted of those charges, as Rittenhouse was today, a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy. A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser.
We are monitoring our site for related fundraisers to try to verify, as we do for all events that have widespread attention, that the funds are going to the intended recipient and that the fundraiser is within our Terms of Service. This process takes time and may slow down the withdrawal process. If the fundraiser does violate our Terms of Service or does not directly benefit the intended beneficiary, we will remove it from the platform.
Our responsibility to our users
We are an open platform with a clear mission to help people help each other. People on all sides of various issues can use the platform to raise funds for many different things. We don’t always share the beliefs of every user, which is why our decisions are guided by Terms of Service and compliance with the law. Fundraisers must also be transparent about the flow of funds and have a plan for how the funds will be spent and, we must be able to identify the customer.
We constantly evaluate and evolve our Terms of Service and consider new factors that keep emerging in today’s world. We care deeply about human rights and have written terms to address this — we do not allow fundraisers that support hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination; or involves weaponry. For further information, please review our full Terms of Service, which can be found here.