If you haven’t already heard of it. Gab is a recent new social media platform setting itself up as an alternative to sites like Reddit. They describe themselves as “an ad-free social news app for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online.” Its founder has even been quoted as saying he believes the “Alt-Tech revolution is going to change everything.”
While the sites growth has been nothing short of tremendous so far, in the background things have been less positive. With the site facing multiple behind the scenes problems including being forced to censor and remove a controversial post or risk losing their web hosting. Now though Gab and its fonder Andrew Torba are going on the offensive for the first time. With Gab AI, Inc. having just filed a lawsuit against no less then Google itself for alleged violations of the Clayton and Sherman Acts. You can see the actual document here below.
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What caused this rift in the first place, between the massive tech giant and the small upstart? The lawsuit is based around the fact that recently Google opted to remove the Gab App from its Google Android App store, on the basis of it not taking active steps to censor user driven “hate speech”. To be clear, Google never accused Gab the company or the App itself of hate speech directly. They simply used the excuse of private users on a platform posting controversial things as a reason to remove a growing rival from their own storefront.
The lawsuit claims that this behavior was a clear violation of American Antitrust laws. Gab’s attorney in this case Marc Randazza had this to say on the matter. “Google Play and Android have monopoly power in the app store market, and Google’s apps YouTube and Google+ compete directly against Gab. Google’s control of all Android apps available through the Play Store are a serious restraint of trade issue.” Going even farther he states, “regardless of Google’s pretextual justification for removing Gab, the effect is that they used their monopoly power in the app store to block an upstart competitor it in the social media app market, to the detriment of millions of consumers who value free speech.”
Gab is by no means the only body calling out Google’s increasing power and political censorship these days. But their CEO Andrew is certainly one of their strongest critics stating, “Google is the biggest threat to the free flow of information. 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.” The result of the legal battle here, could potentially send shockwaves down the entirety of Google’s many operations. Including YouTube where the company has taken much recent flack for its increased censorship, including the demonetization of any political videos not expressing a clearly Leftist bias. Despite the clear First Amendment issues lurking in the background of the case however, Gab wants to make it clear that this is not the basis for the ultimate legal argument being made. “Gab’s case is not built upon any novel theory involving the rights of private companies to engage in censorship — just Google’s restraints of trade.”
While it’s no secret Google spends more on lawyers and other legal expenses every year than Gab does on its entire budget. Gab founder Torba still believes they have at least a fighting chance based on the fact they, “have the law and basic principles of fairness on our side.” Going farther Torba even invoked the ultimate underdog tale itself stating, “This may be a David and Goliath fight, but remember: David won.”
If you are feeling sympathetic to the cause Gab founder you can donate to their legal fund here. https://www.paypal.me/getongab