by Kyle Becker, Becker News:
Google once had the motto “don’t be evil.” The Big Tech giant has long abandoned this motto, as well as any shred of ethics.
But if The Department of Justice (DOJ) and a coalition of eight states get their way, its parent company Alphabet is going to be forced to play by a fair set of rules.
“A federal judge on Friday set a fast-paced schedule in the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit challenging Google LLC’s digital advertising technology practices, moving the case along more quickly than either side had proposed,” Reuters reported.
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“U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson in Alexandria, Virginia, after a brief hearing issued an order setting Jan. 18, 2024, as the date when Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Justice Department lawyers must disclose factual evidence and experts reports,” the report added. “Lawyers for both sides had sought at least five additional months to prepare for trial.”
“The faster pace of the litigation could put additional pressure on both sides, but particularly on Google in building its defense, based on what the company in a court filing called an ‘”imbalance” in the proceedings,” the report adds.
The DOJ lawsuit was filed along with the attorney generals of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.
In the suit, filed in federal court in Virginia, the Justice Department argues Google has “corrupted legitimate competition” in the online ad space through a “systematic campaign to seize control of” online tools used for digital advertising. It is seeking to break up Google’s ad monopoly under the federal Sherman Act—which prohibits monopolization and the attempt or conspiracy to monopolize goods or services.
“Google, a single company with pervasive conflicts of interest, now controls the technology used by nearly every major website publisher to offer advertising space for sale, the leading tools used by advertisers to buy that advertising space, and the largest ad exchange that matches publishers with advertisers each time that ad space is sold,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that Google has bought out its ad tech competitors to “wield its dominance” online. The Big Tech juggernaut compels advertisers to use its service and “disrupt[s] their ability to use competing products effectively.”
“Google is a monopolist and engages in a wide variety of conduct that only a monopolist can accomplish,” the lawsuit states. “The Supreme Court has warned that there are such things as antitrust evils. This litigation will establish that Google is guilty of such antitrust evils, and it seeks to ensure that Google won’t be evil anymore.”
It’s going to be a tough task. In addition to de-listing and burying outlets, such as Becker News, Slay News, the Gateway Pundit, Trending Politics, and other center-right websites on its search engine, it also coerces editorial decisions made on websites by withdrawing Google Ads availability if a publisher comments on “forbidden” subjects, such as the Russia-Ukraine War, the Covid pandemic response, mRNA vaccines, or election integrity, in a manner that does not promote state-approved narratives.
This is a creeping digital totalitarianism, where a Big Tech company acts as a ‘de facto’ dictatorship over online territory. It lords over smaller companies with the aid of government officials it lobbies and politicians whose favor it intends to buy.
Google is not even running a “benevolent dictatorship.” There is recent non-partisan research showing just how profound the bias runs at Google.
According to an AllSides study, Google News heavily promotes left-leaning media outlets—both in the news articles featured on its homepage and in the search results for specific topics. It also buries right-leaning outlets.
“Imbalanced or heavily biased news search results can have a negative impact on our democracy and elections,” Julie Mastrine, director of marketing and media bias ratings at AllSides, told The Daily Signal in a statement. “When people cannot access the full range of views on political and societal issues, they are subject to partisan manipulation and cannot truly decide for themselves.”
“The AllSides balanced newsfeed solves the problem of biased online news aggregation by curating articles from the left, center, and right, so people can get diverse perspectives and think for themselves,” she added.
A Google spokesperson downplayed the report in comments to The Daily Signal.
“Our systems do not take political ideology into account, and we go to extraordinary lengths to build our products for everyone,” the spokesperson claimed. “This study’s methodology is deeply flawed. It cherry-picked a few topics and ran for a very brief period of time, presenting a misleading picture of Google News.”
John Gable, CEO of AllSides, told The Daily Signal that Google News‘ biased results could be “an accident” of Google’s algorithms or a byproduct of a slant in overall internet news content.
“It is possible that an informal policy or the preferences of Google News leadership or employees intentionally support delivering a certain political bias in its news aggregation,” Gable said. “It is also possible that the biased results could be an accident of the algorithms and systems Google uses, or it could reflect the bias of internet news content overall.
“It might also suggest that one political side has been more effective at online communication and marketing than another. Finally, it could just be profit motive, either intentional or accidental, in which news from one political side leads to more views, clicks, and ad revenue than others,” he added.