Presidential candidate and military veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is suing Google after the tech giant blocked her ads account shortly after the first Democrat presidential debate, when Gabbard became the most-searched-for candidate in the Democrat field.
Gabbard’s complaint accuses Google of censoring the candidate at the very moment when millions of Americans wanted to learn more about her. It also accuses Google of sending Gabbard’s campaign emails to people’s Gmail spam folders at a “disproportionately high rate.”
The campaign seeks a legal injunction against Google to prevent further election meddling, as well as $50 million in damages.
Via Gabbard’s legal complaint against Google:
At the height of Gabbard’s popularity among Internet searchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended, and in the thick of the critical post-debate period (when television viewers, radio listeners, newspaper read-ers, and millions of other Americans are discussing and searching for presidential candidates), Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.
For hours, as millions of Americans searched Google for information about Tulsi, and as Tulsi was trying, through Google, to speak to them, her Google Ads account was arbitrarily and forcibly taken offline. Throughout this period, the Campaign worked frantically to gather more information about the suspension; to get through to someone at Google who could get the Account back online; and to understand and remedy the restraint that had been placed on Tulsi’s speech—at precisely the moment when everyone wanted to hear from her.
The Gabbard campaign’s legal complaint cites Breitbart News reporting to highlight Google’s interference in the democratic process. The complaint cites the Google Tape, an hour-long recording of Google executives’ reactions to the 2016 general election obtained by this reporter and published by Breitbart News last September, and Google employees’ campaign to ban Breitbart from Google Ads, an effort that was revealed by Breitbart News last year.
The legal complaint argues that Google could have a nefarious impact on American democracy if its behavior is allowed to continue unchecked. This is the viewpoint of Dr. Robert Epstein, who says the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe will “go all out” to influence the 2020 election.
In a series of Tweets, the Hawaii Democrat said Google’s actions “reveals the danger of their dominance & how the dominance of big tech over public discourse threatens core American values.”
TULSI2020: In the hours following the 1st debate, while millions of Americans searched for info about Tulsi, Google suspended her search ad account w/o explanation. It is vital to our democracy that big tech companies can’t affect the outcome of elections http://tulsi.to/tulsi-vs-google
3/3 – Google’s discrimination against our campaign reveals the danger of their dominance & how the dominance of big tech over public discourse threatens core American values. They threaten our democracy & #Tulsi will fight back on behalf of all Americans. http://tulsi.to/tulsi-vs-google
According to the complaint, “Google could unilaterally and decisively end a presidential candidate’s bid for office if it chose to, for example by tweaking its search algorithm to disfavor the candidate; or blocking the candidate from its ad platforms; or keeping the candidate’s communications from getting to interested voters who use Gmail for email communications.”
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