U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign filed a lawsuit against Google on Thursday in federal district court. They accused the tech giant of election interference when they suspended the Gabbard campaign’s advertising account shortly after the first debate.
The Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, who is largely unknown among the large Democratic presidential field, reportedly was the most searched candidates after the first debate. To take advantage of that the campaign said they wanted to leverage that and run some ads to ensure their website and donation page was at the top of searches run, but instead found their account suspended for several hours.
The campaign claims they never got a clear answer from Google as to why their account was suspended.
Google, who has over 88 percent of the search engine market shares in 2018, told the New York Times that they have automated systems that flag potential fraud when there are significant changes in spending. Their spokesperson said the system triggered a suspension and it was reinstated shortly.
The lawsuit also claims that Google disproportionally sends emails from Gabbard to people’s spam folders.
The campaign alleges that Google, or someone at Google, is not happy with Gabbard “who has vocally called for greater regulation and oversight” of tech giants including Google.
They claim that Google cost the campaign “potentially millions” in lost donations and the opportunity to share their message with Americans searching her name.
“But even more pressing is the ongoing threat of targeted intermeddling in the 2020 United States presidential election by Google – an out-of-control tech giant looking to play favorites unless enjoined by this Court,” the lawsuit reads.
They ask the court for no less than $50 million in damages.
Read the complaint below: