A lawsuit brought up against Google by 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has been dismissed.
Last year, Gabbard sued Google for $50 million, claiming that the search giant infringed on her First Amendment rights because her campaign was unable to buy ads for six hours after the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled earlier this week in favor of Google’s arguments to dismiss the suit.
Wilson ruled that because Google is a private company, First Amendment violations don’t apply to them. The decision is similar to one made by a federal appeals court last week that found because YouTube was a “private forum,” a suit brought against it by conservative group PragerU could not proceed.
“What Plaintiff fails to establish is how Google’s regulation of its own platform is in any way equivalent to a governmental regulation of an election. Google does not hold primaries, it does not select candidates, and it does not prevent anyone from running for office or voting in elections,” Wilson wrote, adding: “Google’s self-regulation, even of topics that may be of public concern, does not implicate the First Amendment.”
At the time Gabbard’s suit was filed last year, Google said an automated system flagged unusual activity and triggered a suspension of Gabbard’s account, the Associated Press reported.
Gabbard is also suing former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for defamation for remarks she made on a podcast.