Tulsi Gabbard’s $50M Google suit is dismissed

2020 presidential candidate Tusli Gabbard accused Google of violating her right to free speech

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed 2020 presidential candidate Tusli Gabbard's $50 million lawsuit against Google for violating a clause in the First Amendment.

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Gabbard, a U.S. military veteran and representative of Hawaii, filed suit against the tech giant in July, claiming Google violated a First Amendment clause that prohibits the U.S. government from curbing free speech by temporarily suspending her political campaign's advertising account, according to a post on Gabbard's campaign website.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment but pointed FOX Business to a statement from District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who allowed Google to dismiss the case because Gabbard's lawsuit "fails to establish how Google’s regulation of its own platform is in any way equivalent to a governmental regulation of an election."

The new Google building in the West Loop, Fulton Market area of downtown Chicago. (iStock)

"Google does not hold primaries, it does not select candidates, and it does not prevent anyone from running for office or voting in elections. To the extent Google 'regulates' anything, it regulates its own private speech and platform. [Gabbard's] 'national security' argument similarly fails. Google protects itself from foreign interference; it does not act as an agent of the United States," Wilson's statement continued.

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Wilson also said Gabbard's legal team failed to prove how the candidate's First Amendment rights were infringed upon

Gabbard filed the suit after she had a strong performance at a June 28 primary debate, resulting in a surge of Google searches for her name.

"In fact, according to multiple news reports, Tulsi was the most-searched candidate on Google," the post on her campaign site reads. "Then, without any explanation, Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account. For hours, Tulsi’s campaign advertising account remained offline while Americans everywhere were searching for information about her."

"During this time, Google obfuscated and dissembled with a series of inconsistent and incoherent reasons for its actions. In the end, Google never explained to us why Tulsi’s account was suspended,"  the post continues.

It goes on to explain how the tech giant dominates nearly 90 percent of the digital advertising industry, blocking out smaller, independent ad platforms. Attorneys general from 48 states launched an investigation into Google for its anti-competitive advertising practices in September.

Google responded to the lawsuit in July, defending its practice of flagging "unusual activity on all advertiser accounts," such as large spending amounts, to protect its users.

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"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 told Politico at the time. "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."

President Trump has also criticized Google for what he claimed to be an anti-conservative bias, saying his administration is "watching Google very closely."

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