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Tulsi Gabbard sues Google over alleged free speech infringement

2020 candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)
Tulsi Gabbard. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

2020 presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is suing Google for allegedly infringing on her free speech rights after her campaign ads were temporarily suspended following the first round of Democratic primary debates, reports the New York Times.

Why it matters: The lawsuit likely marks the first time a presidential candidate has sued a Big Tech company, according to the Times, and comes amid growing outcry among Republican lawmakers that platforms like Google and Twitter are censoring conservative speech. Gabbard, who identifies as a progressive on most issues, has attracted cross-party attention — including from right-wing outlets like Breitbart and Fox News — as a result of her anti-war message.

  • Gabbard's clash over the war in Afghanistan with fellow candidate Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) helped shoot her to the top of Google search rankings after the first debates. Her campaign is alleging that Google suspended her account for 6 hours on June 27 and June 28, stifling her ability to capitalize on the attention spike and raise money.
  • Gabbard is seeking at least $50 million in damages and an injunction to stop Google from "further meddling in the election," per the Times.

Read the full lawsuit:

Go deeper: Tulsi Gabbard on the issues, in under 500 words