Gabbard vs Google

Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the long-shot presidential candidate from Hawaii, said in a federal lawsuit that Google infringed on her free speech when it briefly suspended her campaign’s advertising account after the first Democratic debate in June. 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. In a twist that reflects Ms. Gabbard’s unorthodox political views, the claim that her speech was stifled by Google is similar to complaints made over the last year in Republican circles. Few Democrats have raised similar concerns.

Yeah, I wonder why few Democrats share these concerns. What a huge mystery.

Not that Gabbard herself gave a crap about this until she became a target. But hey, everybody who doesn’t like censorship, should go start their own Google, right?

3 thoughts on “Gabbard vs Google”

  1. Once the FCC starts taking over the internet it won’t matter WHOSE format it is, it’ll be regulated similar to television and radio.
    They’ll have to create a “second web”, similar to cable/satellite TV and radio. Available ONLY by paid subscription, I’m assuming.


  2. VICE reports on this under the headline, “Tulsi Gabbard’s $50M Google Lawsuit Takes a Page from the Far-Right Playbook”, but in the article they mention that “popular YouTubers on the left” have also been complaining about being demoted and otherwise silenced (VICE says they have complained “in recent weeks”, but I was hearing this e.g. from Jimmy Dore, many months ago). At times I felt like they were competing with the right, where the censorship was obvious, for the status of being chief threat to the establishment. But Dore acknowledged many times that the right was being censored, he just warned the progressive left that they shouldn’t applaud this, because their turn would come and in fact is already here.

    There was also a moment when Youtube began to promote mainstream media far more heavily in its search results and recommendations (i.e. the Youtube channels of MSNBC, CNN, etc), which I think would belong in any timeline of changes to their curatorial policies that have political impact.

    On “The Hill”, a former Buttigieg staffer (from before his presidential campaign) said that Gabbard’s advertising account would have been suspended by “election security” measures put in place after 2016. So it’s back to Russia. Gabbard wants to de-escalate nuclear tensions with Russia, she was already mentioned a few times in mainstream media reports as a new favorite of the Russian election meddlers (with what evidence I couldn’t say), and for all I know, Russian assets did try to place pro-Gabbard advertisements in the wake of the first debate, and it triggered these “election security” measures meant to protect your democracy. Or maybe her people tried to advertise, it was flagged, and some human being who oversees the process decided to suspend her for a while, for political reasons. I suppose the lawsuit is supposed to expose more about this process of election management at Google.


  3. I didn’t know Google was a government agency:

    Also, what’s particularly odd about this is that the focus of the lawsuit is on Gabbard’s campaign losing her advertising account. Anyone doing a Google search for Gabbard was still getting tons of organic search results for Gabbard. In effect, this is Gabbard saying that it’s somehow against the law to not accept her money to put her own messages at the top of Google, above the organic ones. Who knew that there was a legal right to skip to the top of all Google results if you’ve got money to burn? No one. Because there is no such right.
    And that’s not all. The conspiracy theories go deeper:
    And Google’s election manipulation doesn’t stop with its search platform. For example, Google’s email platform Gmail sends communications from Tulsi into people’s Spam folders at a disproportionately high rate. In fact, Gmail appears to classify communications from Tulsi Gabbard as Spam at a rate higher than other similar communications—for example, those from other Democratic presidential candidates. There is no technical explanation for this disparity.
    Uh, yeah, there is a “technical explanation for this disparity.” (1) Spam filters, like any other filters, don’t always work well and often filter “legitimate” mail, (2) lots of people may have marked Gabbard’s emails as spam, training the system to treat them as such, or (3) Gabbard’s emailing practices may have been more spam-like than other candidates. It’s also possible that she’s wrong that her emails went to spam more often than other candidates. Either way, there are lots of possible explanations that are significantly more plausible than some nefarious plot in Larry Page’s office to take Gabbard out of the running.


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