Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard filed a $50 million lawsuit against Google, accusing the search giant of violated her free speech rights by suspending her ad account following last month’s Democratic presidential debate.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, accuses Google of violating Gabbard’s free speech rights by suspending her ad account for about six hours after the debate.
“For hours, Tulsi’s campaign advertising account remained offline while Americans everywhere were searching for information about her,” Gabbard’s campaign said, according to HuffPost. “During this time, Google obfuscated and dissembled with a series of inconsistent and incoherent reasons for its actions. In the end, Google never explained to us why Tulsi’s account was suspended.”
The suit seeks $50 million in damages and asks the court to issue an injunction to block Google from suspending the account of any candidate.
Google says Gabbard’s account was flagged by computer:
A Google spokesperson told The Hill that Gabbard’s account was flagged by their algorithm for unusual activity.
“We have automated systems that flag unusual activity on all advertiser accounts – including large spending changes – in order to prevent fraud and protect our customers,” the spokesman said. “In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter.”
But Gabbard says the suspension shows that “threat” posed by Google.
“Google’s discriminatory actions against my campaign are reflective of how dangerous their complete dominance over internet search is, and how the increasing dominance of big tech companies over our public discourse threatens our core American values,” Gabbard said in a statement to the New York Times. “This is a threat to free speech, fair elections and to our democracy, and I intend to fight back on behalf of all Americans.”