U.S. presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against search-engine monopoly Google. In her lawsuit, Gabbard accuses Google of censoring her campaign ads shortly after the first Democratic presidential debate in June 2019.
Gabbard is seeking $50 million in damages and an injunction against Google to ensure it doesn’t interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
Tulsi Gabbard: Google engaged in censorship and election inference
In her July 25 complaint, Gabbard claims Google violated her First-Amendment right to free speech and is meddling in the US election.
The Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii also accused the tech giant of engaging in unfair competition by blocking her ads at the height of her online popularity.
Gabbard claims Google’s censorship damaged her campaign because she was the most popular candidate being searched online on the night of the Democratic debate.
“At the height of Gabbard’s popularity among Internet searchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended…Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.”
Google searches during the debate, via @GoogleTrends:
1. Tulsi: 12 (indexed)
2. Booker: 11
3. Warren: 7
3. Beto: 7
3. de Blasio: 7
6. Castro: 6
7. Inslee: 4
7. Tim Ryan: 4
9. Klobuchar: 3
9. Delaney: 3 pic.twitter.com/Yc6QaObdPp
— Axios (@axios) June 27, 2019
Gabbard: Google plays favorites
Gabbard says she filed her lawsuit to “fight back” against Google’s censorship and unlawful election meddling. In her complaint, Gabbard notes that Google “does not treat all political viewpoints equally.”
The tech juggernaut has repeatedly been accused of censoring conservative viewpoints and suppressing search results for right-leaning content.
However, Gabbard says Google — whose leadership admits it’s liberal — also discriminates against left-leaning politicians it doesn’t like.
Gabbard further claims Google penalized her because she has called for regulation of Big Tech companies.
“Google supports viewpoints, political causes, and candidates that favor its policy positions over those that do not. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency — and no accountability (until now).”
Google has whopping 92% market share
Gabbard’s lawsuit comes just days after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into tech giants to determine if they’re engaging in monopolistic practices that are unfairly inhibiting competition.
This latest investigation is separate from the DOJ’s already-announced antitrust investigation of Google.
Google has a 92% share of the world’s search engine market, which essentially makes it a monopoly.
By comparison, Bing — the world’s second-largest search engine — has a minuscule 2.56% market share. Coming in third place is Yahoo, with just 2.14% market share.
Given these lopsided statistics and the fact that Google and Facebook are essentially unregulated, lawmakers and the public are deeply concerned about the unchecked power that Big Tech corporations wield.
Gabbard bought crypto during bitcoin bull market
Meanwhile, Tulsi Gabbard is a budding favorite among some bitcoin fans, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. According to federal election filings, Dorsey donated the maximum legal amount to Gabbard’s presidential campaign.
Dorsey is an avowed bitcoin fan, so it’s no surprise he supports Gabbard, who’s a crypto investor. As CCN reported, Gabbard bought Litecoin and Ether in December 2017 at the height of the bitcoin bull market.
According to financial disclosure forms, Gabbard bought $1,001 to $15,000 of Ether and Litecoin in December 2017. At the time, the bitcoin price soared to a record high of $19,500. It’s unclear how much crypto Gabbard currently holds.