Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is suing Google for $50 million over alleged "election interference," The New York Times reports.
In her lawsuit, Rep. Gabbard, a military veteran, said the tech giant muffled her free speech rights when it briefly suspended her ad account following the Democratic debate in June.
"Google's arbitrary and capricious treatment of Gabbard's campaign should raise concerns for policymakers everywhere about the company's ability to use its dominance to impact political discourse, in a way that interferes with the upcoming 2020 presidential election," the lawsuit said.
Gabbard and her presidential campaign are also seeking an injunction against Google from additional meddling in the 2020 election.
Jose Castenada, a spokesman for Google, said the company's automated systems flag unusual activity on advertiser accounts to prevent fraud.
"In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter," he told the Times. "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."
Gabbard in a statement said Google's actions threaten America's core values.
"Google's discriminatory actions against my campaign are reflective of how dangerous their complete dominance over Internet search is, and how the increasing dominance of big tech companies over our public discourse threatens our core American values," Gabbard said in a statement. "This is a threat to free speech, fair elections, and to our democracy, and I intend to fight back on behalf of all Americans."
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