Google faces lawsuit from alt-right favourite social media app Gab

GoogleGab, a social media platform which prides itself on free speech and is popular with the far-right, has filed a lawsuit against Google claiming its removal from the Play Store violated antitrust laws.

Google removed the app in August under the grounds of its lack of moderation surrounding hate speech on the platform. However, Gab believes it has met all of Google’s requirements with regards to this, and says there is a double standard in the way Google favours the video sharing site that it owns, YouTube, and Twitter.

“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 intimate partnership with Twitter, which also competes against Gab, makes Google’s control of all Android apps available through the Play Store a serious restraint of trade issue,” said Marc Randazza, the lawyer representing Gab, in a Medium post.

“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.”

Google has responded to the allegations in a relatively unfazed manner, stating that the claims are baseless and that it is happy for Gab to appeal.

“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,” it said in a statement.

“This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. This developer is welcome to appeal the suspension if theyve addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies.”