Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday that seeks at least $50 million from Google. In the suit, Gabbard alleges that the tech giant infringed on her free speech after it suspended her campaign’s advertising account in the aftermath of the first Democrat presidential debate.
“The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in a federal court in Los Angeles, is believed to be the first time a presidential candidate has sued a major technology firm,” The New York Times reported. “Tulsi Now Inc., the campaign committee for Ms. Gabbard, said Google suspended the campaign’s advertising account for six hours on June 27 and June 28, obstructing its ability to raise money and spread her message to potential voters.”
The Times further noted that, following Gabbard’s appearance during the first Democrat presidential debate, she was the most searched-for candidate on the search engine.
“Her campaign wanted to capitalize on the attention she was receiving by buying ads that would have placed its website at the top of search results for her name,” The Times added. “The lawsuit also said the Gabbard campaign believed its emails were being placed in spam folders on Gmail at “a disproportionately high rate” when compared with emails from other Democratic candidates.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week that it is opening an antitrust probe of big tech companies and that it will “examine practices of online platforms that dominate internet search, social media and retail services,” CNBC reported.
“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the companies the DOJ will be looking into include Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.