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.