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. The complaint cites Breitbart News’ work in exposing Google’s election meddling.
The lawsuit cited two bombshell Breitbart News scoops about Google, both showing the company’s political bias: the Google Tape, a 1-hour recording of Google executives’ dismayed reaction to the 2016 election result, and leaked emails showing senior google employees trying to remove ad revenue from Breitbart.
Gabbard’s campaign ties the incidences of political bias to Google’s commercial interests. The complaint notes that in both cases — the dismayed reaction to Donald Trump’s election, and the campaign to demonetize Breitbart News — Google demonstrated its bias against its prominent critics.
The lawsuit later notes that Google is happy to work with establishment conservatives that don’t pose a threat to the company, like the Koch Foundation. The complaint accuses Google of making “common cause” with establishment conservatives in D.C. to create political pressure against antitrust investigations.
Via Gabbard’s lawsuit:
After President Trump won the election, an internal Google video leaked showing Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, its CEO Sundar Pichai, and other high-ranking Google officers speaking, with dismay, about Trump’s election victory. Their alarm may have been well-founded: In May of this year, Trump’s Department of Justice announced it was exploring whether to open a case against Google for potential antitrust violations.
More recently, Google employees engaged in an internal lobbying cam-paign to block Breitbart from Google’s advertising program. As part of this internal lobbying campaign, one Google employee pressed that “[t]here is obviously a moral argument to be made [to blocking Breitbart] as well as a business case.” While it’s not entirely clear what “business case” the Google employee was referring to, it’s important to note that Breitbart has been among Google’s staunchest critics, alleging that the company routinely censors conservative viewpoints.
The complaint goes on to highlight Google’s immense political power, stating that the company could “decisively end a presidential candidate’s bid for office if it chose to.”
While there is no law against a company’s employees engaging in political activity, Google is no ordinary company. As a result of its power, it helps to run elections with its search results and ad offerings, including exercising unilateral control over nearly all Internet search and search advertising—perhaps the single most important platform through which presidential primary candidates communicate with potential voters, and vice versa. Quite simply, Google could unilaterally and decisively end a presidential candidate’s bid for office if it chose to.
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.
Are you a source at Google, Facebook, Amazon, or any other corporation who wants to confidentially share information about wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Breitbart Senior Technology correspondent Allum Bokhari at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use a free Protonmail to ensure your message is encrypted.