indica News Bureau
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, has filed a lawsuit against Google in a California court claiming that the tech giant infringed on her free speech by suspending her ad account after her participation last month in her party’s televised debate, the campaign announced.
The Hawaii Democrat, a converted Hindu, has called for big tech companies to be broken up. She was one of the top Google search topics during and after the debate, according to her campaign and published reports.
According to published reports, Gabbard’s campaign decided after the debate that “now is the time we can get our message out there by buying search ads,’’ said attorney Brian Dunne, who is representing Gabbard. But “just as her Google traffic was spiking, her Google ad account was taken offline,’’ he said.
Google told the campaign the ad account was suspended “for violations of billing practices” and advertising practices, Dunne said, according to news media accounts. But Dunne said there was no change that would merit such a suspension. When Google was asked by the campaign about the validity of the suspension, the tech giant told the campaign there was “a violation of the terms of service,” Dunne said. According to published reports.
In a statement, a Google spokeswoman said the account suspension was brief and triggered automatically, published reports have said.
“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,” Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto said in a statement. “In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter. We are proud to offer ad products that help campaigns connect directly with voters, and we do so without bias toward any party or political ideology.”
Dunne, the lawyer representing the campaign, said that with the Gabbard campaign’s Google advertising account suspended, it “had no possibility of putting up Google ads. They had no ability to really speak to the people who wanted to hear from her’’ on Google’s platform.
In the lawsuit the campaign alleges, “To this day,’ Google has not provided a straight answer” for the suspension, according to news media reports.
Gabbard has been openly critical of the tech industry, saying that some companies take away individuals’ “civil liberties and freedoms in the name of national security and corporate greed,” according to published reports. She has also criticized Facebook’s banning some users on the platform.