Posted: July 26, 2019
Category: NATIONAL HEADLINES
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 €44.99 million in damages.
The Gabbard campaign’s legal complaint cites Breitbart News reporting to highlight Google’s interference in the democratic process. The complaint cites the Google Tape, an hour-long recording of Google executives’ reactions to the 2016 general election obtained by this reporter and published by Breitbart News last September, and Google employees’ campaign to ban Breitbart from Google Ads, an effort that was revealed by Breitbart News last year.
The legal complaint argues that Google could have a nefarious impact on American democracy if its behavior is allowed to continue unchecked. This is the viewpoint of Dr. Robert Epstein, who says the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe will “go all out” to influence the 2020 election.
In addition to Google’s overarching control over, and restrictions on, American political speech generally, Google has a unique and disturbing amount of influence over—and interest in—elections. In fact, through its search, search advertising, and other monopolistic platforms, Google has almost total control over important aspects of election speech and election advertising. And Google is willing to exploit its control—as can be seen in Google’s targeting of Tulsi Gabbard, a political opponent of the company, through the Account.
In fact, Gabbard’s Account is not the first election advertising that Google has interfered with. For example, in June 2018, Google announced that it would no longer sell political ads for local races in Washington state. Yet in reality, Google continued to sell such ads—thousands of dollars’ worth, in fact—but only to certain campaigns. In short, Google’s alleged ban on ads for local races in Washington state was selectively enforced. This misconduct ultimately resulted in the Washington state attorney general prosecuting Google, and Google settled case, agreeing to pay $217,000 to resolve its liability.
The disparity grew even more stark during the last presidential election. Google employees gave $1.3 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, compared with $26,000 to the Trump campaign. What’s more, Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), counseled Clinton on strategy during her presidential campaign, and financed Civis Analytics, a startup which provided data and other technology for her campaign.
Robert Epstein, a social psychologist and Internet researcher, argues persuasively that Google’s pro-Clinton search bias may have shifted as many as 2.6 million votes to Clinton during the 2016 election.