Tulsi Gabbard SUES Google claims that its advertising account was suspended during the boost after the debate
Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate for 2020, filed a lawsuit against Google LLC on Thursday after the technology company had suspended its advertising account following the June debates.
Gabbard, generally regarded as a longshot candidate in the race, briefly became the most searched candidate on Google during the first night of the Miami debates on June 26.
About a month later, the Congresswoman from Hawaii has now filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles claiming that Google has infringed her rights to the First Amendment by suspending her campaign advertising account.
The Gabbard Campaign Commission, Tulsi Now Inc., claims that the company that runs the world's most popular search engine suspended the ads from its campaign on June 27-28 for six hours.
It says the suspension prevented her campaign from raising money and spreading her message during her boost after the debate.
Tulsi Gabbard sues Google after its campaign claims that the technology giant had suspended its advertising account on the search engine during its boost after the debate
In an effort to take advantage of Gabbard's short spotlight moment, her campaign wanted to buy ads that her website had placed and a link to donate to the campaign, at the top of Google's search results when people searched for her name.
& # 39; Google's arbitrary and capricious treatment of the Gabbard campaign should give rise to concerns for policy makers everywhere about the company's ability to use its dominance to influence political discourse in a way that obstructs the upcoming 2020 presidential election, & # 39; said the lawsuit.
After the campaign realized that the advertising account had been suspended, employees sent an email for the campaign to a Google representative on June 27 at 9:30 PM. The campaign contained a photo with an image of the suspension message stating it was due to & # 39; billing information issues or violations of our advertising policy & # 39 ;.
The lawsuit said: "To this day, Google has not given a clear answer – let alone a credible answer – why Tulsi & # 39; s political speech was silenced when millions of people wanted to hear from her & # 39;
At 3.30 pm on June 28, the Gabbard account was reactivated.
When recovering the ad account, Google said it was initially suspended so that the technology giant could verify billing information and policy compliance.
In an email to supporter, Gabbard's campaign said it would commit itself to breaking down major technical companies.
& # 39; Google manages 88 percent of all internet searches in the United States – so it essentially controls our access to information & # 39 ;, said the email. & # 39; That is why Tulsi has been a strong proponent of ending the technical monopolies. & # 39;
& # 39; [I] If Google can do this to Tulsi, a four-time combat veteran and congresswoman who works for the nation's highest office, Google can do this to any candidate, any party who works for an office runs in the United States, & # 39; the statement continued.
The lawsuit also claimed that Gabbard's campaign emails were placed in the spam folder in the Google mail server, Gmail, at a & # 39; disproportionately high percentage & # 39; compared to the other more than two dozen candidates.
The lawsuit, which is believed to be the first time a presidential candidate has sued a major technology company, is seeking an order against Google to continue to interfere with the election and damage its campaign of at least $ 50 million.
Although no other campaigns have claimed that Google has suspended their advertising accounts, the technology company said it has an automated system that marks unusual activity with regard to advertiser accounts.
A Google spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, told The New York Times that this practice helps prevent fraud.
& # 39; In this case, our system caused a suspension and the account was restored shortly thereafter & # 39 ;, he said about the Gabbard advertising account. & # 39; We are proud to offer advertising products that help campaigns get in direct contact with voters, and we do this without bias towards a party or political ideology. & # 39;
The unusual activity observed was probably due to the peak in visitors looking for the Hawaii legislature after the debate
The 38-year-old legislator still regularly polls for less than 1 percent among likely democratic voters, even after the first round of debates.
The boost was also reflected in her popularity that night – a poll on popular collecting site The Drudge report showed that viewers thought they had won the night. Nearly 40 percent said Gabbard was the winner, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is generally rated No. 3, was in second place for the night.
The first debate evening was largely seen as the B team, because front runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were not on the podium.
Gabbard, who was the youngest woman ever to become an American representative, spoke only 6.6 minutes during the debate, but remained relatively calm and concise and it was enough to spread her name.
Gabbard was also the first Hindu member of the congress.
Google and other technology companies, such as Facebook, are receiving increasing attention from legislators and regulators about their influence on political debates and elections.
& # 39; The discriminatory actions of Google against my campaign reflect how dangerous their full dominance over internet search is and how the growing dominance of major technology companies over our public discourse threatens our American core values, & # 39; said Mrs. Gabbard in a statement. & # 39; This is a threat to freedom of expression, fair elections and our democracy, and I intend to fight back on behalf of all Americans. & # 39;
Gabbard's criticism of the technology company reflects similar complaints in republican circles who claim that their voices have been suppressed on the internet, and especially on social media sites.
It is supported by those in both political parties, probably because of its agility of great technology, with which both Republican and Democratic voters can identify.
& # 39; The dominance of Big Tech poses a clear and current threat to our democracy & # 39 ;, the Gabbard campaign sent an email to supporters of the trial. & # 39; That's why Tulsi is fighting back and has filed a lawsuit against Google at the federal court. & # 39;
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