Extremist Site Files Anti-Trust Suit Against Google

The Washington Post reports:

The social media site Gab.ai is accusing Google of violating federal antitrust laws when the tech giant booted Gab from the Google Play Store, according to lawsuit filed Thursday. The legal action is the latest salvo in an escalating battle between right-leaning technologists and leaders against Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook and Google. Gab alleges in the lawsuit that “Google deprives competitors, on a discriminatory basis, of access to the App Store, which an essential facility or resource.”

“Google is the biggest threat to the free flow of information,” Gab chief executive Andrew Torba said in a statement. “Gab started to fight against the big tech companies in the marketplace, and their monopolistic conduct has forced us to bring the fight to the courtroom.”

Google banned the social media platform from the Google Play Store last month, citing violations of Google’s hate speech policies. Andrew Anglin, the founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, had become an active user on Gab after a succession of companies refused to service his site. Gab also counts other controversial right-wing figures among its users, including Milo Yiannopoulos and Andrew “weev” Auernheimer.

More from Fast Company:

In the 40-plus page document, which does try to prove Google’s monopolistic tendencies, Gab’s lawyers also go on a tangent about political correctness and the supposed censorship practices of Google and other platforms. It’s a real doozy of a document.

In one section it talks about Google’s funding of the New America think tank, which recently fired scholars who were critical of the company. Later on it discusses Google’s firing of James Damore as proof that it silences dissent, and then ends with insane sentence:

Google, then, had a considerable “soft” incentive to use the Charlottesville “moment” as cover for eliminating Gab from the Play Store, an action that it likely considered inevitable because of the violent protests and activism directed against “hate speech,” monuments of dead generals and any symbol of institutions associated with conservative or extreme right-wing messages, which for all practical purposes were elided into one.

Google has issued a terse statement:

This claim is baseless and we’re happy to defend our decision in court if need be. In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people. This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. This developer is welcome to appeal the suspension if they’ve addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies.

  • LovesIrony

    For the douche bags that hate the government so much they sure want the government to fight their battle for them. I insist google play allow me to sell my dirty socks on their app

    • liondon#iamnotatraitor

      Where’s the line start?

  • bkmn

    Google is a private business that can decide what they tolerate – that is being part of a free market.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    I would encourage Google to settle. Just because “Gab” might “encourage violence and advocates hate” does NOT mean Google is not liable for monopolistic practices.

    Also, I think there might be treble damages available (it’s been a while since I read the anti-trust acts in haec verba)

    [Edit: I have not read the Complaint, but it seems like a tactical error to get all caught up in free speech issues; anti-trust law is largely statutory.]

    • LovesIrony

      Neville?

      • Phillip in L.A.

        Nope

    • Friday

      I don’t think *they* have a case since they weren’t hosted because they violate terms of service, clearly related to the hate-speech and incitement, not for anti-trust-worth reasons.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        The reason for the declination of service is a question of fact, isn’t it?

        • Friday

          Yeah, though the facts are as easy to see as the terms of service and the obvious violations thereof by the hate-groups.

  • Daveed_WOW

    Will be thrown out of court. There is no basis. Nazis are not a protected class and no private organization has any obligation to accommodate anyone’s free speech. They can restrict any speech or activity on their platforms that they wish.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Like Microsoft thought it could restrict others from using Windows to access their browsers?

      • Daveed_WOW

        I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • The question is not about ‘class’ but about ‘monopolistic practices’ – which, frankly, Google has engaged in. The question is whether the content of social media platform means the developers of that platform loose their right to distribute it. It’s a rather interesting idea. Google has used a similar argument to ban some hookup apps (like Recon) in the past. In this case, the alt-right folks may have a valid legal argument.

      • Daveed_WOW

        That’s fine, but all business has wide latitude – short of discrimination or other illegal activity – to decide how to conduct their business and with whom.

        I assure you I’m talking out of my butt. I just want the Nazis to lose. Always. In every court. Forever.

        • To a degree this is true; however, in a monopoly situation, businesses undergo a higher scrutiny – just ask Microsoft about their attempt to keep non-MS browsers off of windows.

          • Daveed_WOW

            From my position in the armchair, I’m not seeing it.

          • John30013

            I don’t think the Windows browser monopoly case is equivalent. In that case, Microsoft was actively stifling *competing* browsers on its platform. Here there is no “competition”. Google has set clear and unbiased terms that all apps must meet to be included in the Google Play Store. This particular app violates those terms.

            Unless you can argue that Google is banning the Gab app because it competes with Google’s own social media app, I don’t think your comparison is apt. Further, Google hasn’t banned the app from its *platform* (the Android OS), only from being offered in its app store.

      • Ben Trigg

        Given that Android allows loading apps from sources other than Google Play, I have a hard time seeing a monopoly here.

      • Rillion

        The fact that Gab is still free to distribute their app to Android users through their own site will help Google. A company is free to include content in their app that Google, but if they do, they just can’t use the Google’s store. Goggle hasn’t blocked them in their search results and in fact doing a quick Google search I found it readily available on several third party app sites. Apple has also banned the app from their store and from my understanding that means it is completely unavailable to Apple users. I would think they would have a better argument against Apple.

  • liondon#iamnotatraitor

    Google is a company and from what I learned a company can hold deeply held beliefs… so suck it up cupcake.

    • Todd

      I think that law only applies if the company has deeply held christian beliefs. Or at least that’s what the right-wingers believe. Consistent application of the law sucks for them.

  • Frostbite

    Curious why they didn’t go after Apple for the same bullshit.

  • Michael R
    • Christopher

      Leave it bloody and lifeless in the gutter and you’ve got a good start.

      I hate racists!

    • PickyPecker
    • Uncle Mark

      We dissected frogs when we were kids in school. It’s time to do it again

  • bambinoitaliano
  • Tawreos

    I loves googles response which seems to be a paragraph of lawyer speak to say “Fuck Off”

    • prixator

      More like “Fuck Off, Bigots”.

  • PickyPecker

    Friday is an excellent day for unfathomable Weeping Nazi tears. (but then, I enjoy them every single day I can get them).

    https://i0.wp.com/www.back2stonewall.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Crying-nazi.png?fit=500%2C290

    • bambinoitaliano
    • Nic Peterson

      Where is my Martini shaker when I need it. The tears of nazis are the sweetest of all. Could be the pre-diabetes, just keep them coming.

      • Uncle Mark

        Actually, I prefer to salt the rims of my glasses with the delicious tears of Nazis. They’re perfect with Margaritas

        • Nic Peterson

          Margs at your place! Try this some time:
          1.5 silver tequila
          .75 fresh lime
          .75 Elderflower
          .75 ginger honey syrup ( ginger juice, honey and water in equal parts )
          Gentle shake of cayenne

          Shake with ice and pour into a glass crusted with the salt from the tears of nazis.

          Sante!

          • Uncle Mark

            Thanks. It sounds wonderful !! Gotta go now to crumple a Nazi and make him cry. Fresh ingredients are important, you know.

          • Nic Peterson

            Details matter!

        • Grumpy Old Man

          Ever had an up-side down Margarita?

          You lay your head on the bar and the bartender makes the Margarita in your mouth (in this particular context – there is so much subtext in that sentence).

          • Uncle Mark

            So exactly what does the bartender do when he “salts the rim?”

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Considering this is the shit he’s probably been drinking, I’d say they’d be pretty salty LOL

      New and Improved!!!

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/61dd595966fb6ea8a672c50d92b53f565b996624ffececfdc47a7b3bdea2923f.jpg

  • WitlessProtection

    Gee you would think they would be happy to have companies free from government intrusion…

  • JWC

    Question then where do you stand on the subject of Facebook should they fess up???

    • Gerry Fisher

      Facebook actually provides a level of reporting and moderation; people have had their accounts suspended for violating terms. What Facebook hasn’t done very well yet is to vet and control fake news, especially from entities who purchase their advertising. Google also has not altered their algorithms that allow a bunch of fake-news websites to reference each other thereby getting themselves highly ranked in the search results. Tough problems to tackle, IMO, without messing up other well-functioning processes.

      • JWC

        I quit facebook 8 months ago but apparently you can;t quit them I still get daily “you have 23 new message on facebook” or “is Jerry Numdik a freind of yours, he is on facebook right now”

        • Steve Smith

          I managed to completely obliterate a Facebook account about 4 years ago. Maybe they’ve changed the rules. Again.

          • JWC

            must admit it come in on my iPhone evento I delete that account as well

        • canoebum

          You have to go in several pages deep to find the switch to delete your account completely (I suspect they will always keep your information hidden somewhere). They don’t make it easy to find, but the “Turn me off permanently” switch is in there.

          • JWC

            well got into it as far as deactivate account Have a strange feeling I have been here before Time will tell Thanx for your help

      • JWC

        there are personal freedoms to consider put in the case of Russian bots where is the tipping point. I agreed when Apple refuse to unlock a phone But Fuckleberg seems to have allowed greed to overide his business modle Am I wrong If he has info that could deveople assitance then I think he has too

      • The_Wretched

        FB’s black eye of the day is that their marketing group has an identified subset of racists and will sell you the “racist” slice to target your ads.

        • canoebum

          That should be a prosecutable crime.

    • Lars Littlefield

      Yas!

  • PickyPecker
  • Bluto
    • Uncle Mark

      I’m sure the weeping Nazi is getting fucked right in the feelings at this very moment.

      • Hank

        Mad me think of who is “doing” the Pharma Douche, now in Federal Prison in Brooklyn!!! I hope he is getting it from BOTH ends!!!

        • Uncle Mark

          I imagine he might be in solitary at the moment, but eventually I’m sure someone will be giving him his “medicine.”

        • Todd20036

          Another Steve is VERY thorough.

        • Bluto

          No longer pharma douche, now prisoner #87850-053.

    • Nic Peterson

      Oh they are both PURTY! (That is how you spell it, right?)

      • Uncle Mark

        Actually, looking at the two of them, I’m pretty certain they eat their feelings

        • PamelaGOgletree

          Get paid weekly by Google (Make $99/hr with Google) and live a financially strong life…
          last thursday I got a top of the range Land Rover Range Rover after having made $12141 this-past/4 weeks . this is actually the nicest work I’ve ever done . I started this seven months/ago and almost straight away began to bring in minimum $75 per hour . pop over to this web-site
          !yd249d:
          ➽➽
          ➽➽;➽➽ http://FinancialGoogleReportsNetworkGetProfitWorks/computer/jobs ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!yd249s..,

      • That or purdy.

  • Todd

    Just because the nazis rely on technology provided by other companies to spread their hate doesn’t mean that those services are an “essential facility or resource”. They’re complaining about services provided by private companies and apparently feel entitled to do what they want those privately-provided services. Idiots.

  • Nic Peterson

    Oh, how original. A green frog icon.

  • Tulle Christensen

    You cannot force a store to carry your product. The only reason for action is if the store accepts payments from a competitor of yours you keep you out. If the store does not accept your products because they do not fit with the corporate image they wish to convey is not anti-trust

  • Nic Peterson

    Last time I checked, there isn’t a constitutional right to the free flow of ‘your own content’ on the interwebs. The government isn’t suppressing you and the free market is finally doing it’s job.

    • Uncle Mark

      For a group of people determined to repress the rights of others, they certainly bitch and moan A LOT about not having enough rights for themselves

  • JoeMyGod

    When Gab first launched I joined their waiting list for an account so I could monitor our enemies. The self-proclaimed home of all speech never approved me. (I did use my JMG email to register.)

  • Cuberly

    When is a store obligated to carry a certain product, let alone one that may expose them to a degree of liability.

  • kelven

    As always, the fascists want to use the laws to protect them while they try to wreck the system from within. They are so quick to cry discrimination supposedly directed at them when that is their entire platform. Suck it up snowflakes. No special privileges for Nazis.

  • Halou

    When it comes to booting out 800,000 people who came to America as children and by now have no homes or family outside the US “we are a nation of laws”.
    When it comes to adhering to hate speech laws, “waaaahhhhhh!”

    • Tulle Christensen

      The United States has no hate speech laws we only have hate crime laws

      don’t fall for RWNJ claims

  • Todd20036

    I’m confused. So Google MUST allow their pro-violent, pro-hatred rhetoric, but a baker can refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple?

    • Uncle Mark

      If only their Orange OberFuhrer would give them high ranking jobs/positions, so they can ignore the rules they wish to impose on everyone else. Bwhaaa…haaa…haaa !!!

    • The_Wretched

      Christian privilege is the definition of one-sided law.

    • zhera

      Now you’re getting it! Civil rights for mee, not for thee.

    • canoebum

      This is different. The baker who refuses to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple already sells wedding cakes. The gay customers aren’t asking them to sell a product not in their inventory. Google on the other hand, as a matter of long-standing policy, does not carry hate speech products in its store.

  • Natty Enquirer

    Regardless of politics, this is the inevitable future for an octopus like Google and I’m sure Alphabet has a longterm strategy to deal with regulation when it comes.

  • The_Wretched

    1. App Store, which an essential facility or resource.<–good luck with that as a legal argument.
    2. Regen and republicans since killed the area of law known as anti-trust. (mostly)
    3. Rational free speech laws don't necessarily protect your right to call for abuse of a race of other disfavored group.
    4. Industry taking on the role of government is what happens when there isn't regulation. That does not mean you get to make the same arguments. And again, the solution isn't one Republicans or RWNJs like.

  • Bad Tom

    Free flow of hate != Free flow of information

    False equivalence is a prime tool of the alt-right.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Sorry, but any 1st year law student can see this isn’t going to go anywhere. Google, while big and ubiquitous, is still within its right to decide what goes on its platform Google Play. In fact, the TOS are quite explicit and have existed long before GAB so, good luck with that.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    They could do what Recon did and release app and updates independently. Google play doesn’t support “adult apps” and so Recon found a solution.

  • As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, this raising interesting questions about Google’s ‘monopolistic practices’ – which there’s little doubt they have engaged in. The question is whether the content of social media platform means the developers of that platform loose their right to distribute it. It’s a rather interesting idea.
    Google has used a similar argument to ban some hookup apps (like Recon)
    in the past, and to limit sexual content on others. In this case, the alt-right folks may have a valid legal
    argument.

    • canoebum

      They lose no rights to distribute their hate app. They are perfectly free to stand in Times Square or on the Washington Mall and give copies away. Google, as a private company, is under no obligation to carry their “merchandise” in their store.

  • grada3784
    • djcoastermark

      Geez o pete, those christians are so full of, um,,,,,,,,, love, yeah that’s it. That’s how they show how close to their god they are I guess.

  • Rillion

    Also it hurts their argument that Google allows Android users to download and install apps from places besides the Google Play Store.

  • kaydenpat

    Free speech doesn’t mean that you can force private companies to host your organizations. I thought Conservatives were big on respecting business decisions.

    • Ben in Oakland

      Only for Christians against gay people.

  • RaygunsGoZap

    Soooooo….they’re upset that Google won’t monetize hate for them?

  • Ben in Oakland

    So they want to force someone to do business with them. Interesting.

  • JCF

    The corporate version of “Weeping Nazis”.