Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Saturday (Feb 5) it was fraud for GoFundMe to "commandeer" US$9 million in donations sent to support protesting truckdrivers in Canada and that he will investigate what he called "deceptive practices" by the website.
GoFundMe took down the so-called Freedom Convoy's page on Friday, saying it violated its terms of service. It said donors had two weeks to request a refund, then remaining funds would be disbursed to "credible and established charities."
DeSantis, a Republican, said on Twitter it was fraud for GoFundMe to give the money "to causes of their own choosing," and he would work with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to investigate. "(T)hese donors should be given a refund."
GoFundMe did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on DeSantis' tweet.
In a Twitter post, the company said on Saturday that "due to donor feedback" it was simplifying the process and will be refunding all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser.
"This refund will happen automatically - you do not need to submit a request. Donors can expect to see refunds within 7-10 business days," GoFundMe said in a tweet.
The convoy began as a movement against a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers, but has turned into a rallying point against public health measures.
Protesters have shut down downtown Ottawa for eight days, with some participants waving Confederate or Nazi flags and some saying they wanted to dissolve Canada's government.
Cities including the financial hub Toronto braced for disruptions on Saturday as protests spread from Ottawa, raising fears of clashes with counter protesters.