YouTube rival Rumble is suing Google in a complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California's San Jose Division, alleging the tech giant is violating antitrust laws by "unfairly rigging" its search algorithms to drive traffic away from YouTube's competitors.
"By unfairly rigging its search algorithms such that YouTube is the first-listed links ‘above the fold’ on its search results page, Google, through its search engine, was able to wrongfully divert massive traffic to YouTube, depriving Rumble of the additional traffic, users, uploads, brand awareness and revenue it would have otherwise received,” the 38-page complaint states.
While Rumble has exclusive rights to original content videos, the platform claims that Google's "unlawful anti-competitive conduct" forces the Toronto-based company to syndicate its videos to YouTube in order to survive.
The suit, citing analytics data related to views of Rumble’s original content videos on YouTube, alleges Rumble lost a "huge amount of revenue on 9.3 billion views that Google wrongfully directed to YouTube with its unfair YouTube-preferencing algorithms."
"If even a portion of those 9.3 billion views had occurred on Rumble’s website instead of YouTube, that would have generated well in excess of 100 million additional video uploads to the Rumble platform, which in turn would have generated billions of more views on the Rumble platform, and massive amounts of additional revenue for Rumble and its content creators,” Rumble said.
The lawsuit also accuses Google of "an illegal tying arrangement," in which Android-based smartphone manufacturers are forced to include YouTube as a preinstalled app in order to use the Android operating system.
"This also has damaged and continues to damage Rumble by further self-preferencing YouTube over Rumble (and other platforms, which harms competition in addition to Rumble)," the company added. "Because much of the online searching for videos is done on smartphones, this further ensures that Google’s YouTube platform receives unfair preferential treatment. Google thus wrongfully acquired and maintains a monopoly over the market for online video-sharing platforms."
Rumble is seeking monetary damages for more than $2 billion that the company claims to have sustained and "continues to sustain as a proximate result of Google’s antitrust violations.”
“We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims,” Google spokesperson José Castañeda told FOX Business in a statement.
Rumble is the latest to accuse Google of antitrust violations related to its advertising and search practices, following two lawsuits from four private publishers last month and two separate, additional antitrust actions filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.