Gab Drops Its Lawsuit Against Google; Considers Trying Its Hand At Lobbying

from the trading-pressure-from-below-for-pressure-from-above dept

It seems like barely enough time has passed for the filing fee check to clear, but Twitter-alternative Gab's lawsuit against Google has already been dropped. (h/t SophisticatedJaneDoe)

The dismissal [PDF] -- only the second item on the docket -- is as brief as the complaint (which alleged anti-trust violations by Google) was long.

Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the plaintiff GAB AI, INC. and or their counsel, hereby give notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice against the defendant.

Gab alleged Google's booting of its app from the Play store amounted to a anti-competitive action in service of its "partnership" with Twitter. Twitter had given Google access to its fire hose for its search engine. Google's booting of Gab, however, appeared to amount to little more than an inconsistent application of Play Store standards. This made Google look bad, but didn't seem to back up claims of a Google-Twitter conspiracy to keep Gab's app out of the public's hands. (Adding to this lack of evidence was the fact Twitter was never listed as a defendant.)

There's nothing to be gleaned from the voluntary dismissal -- one that would allow Gab to refile in the future if it again feels this is the best route to take. Gab has released a statement shedding some light on the subject, however. The platform's reps feel Gab's time and energy may be better spent pursuing other options.

In light of antitrust attorney Joseph Simons being nominated to lead the FTC, Gab has decided to withdraw our antitrust case against Google. Gab has been in productive back-channel talks with Google since our initial filing of the case. We were encouraged to resubmit our app before the Android store, as opposed to going forth with continued expensive litigation, of which would have cost the company a great fortune in both time and resources. Google has instead offered Gab an opportunity to resubmit our application for an appeal to be reviewed for placement on their Google Play Store, which we are in the process of doing as we speak.

Gab also appears to be getting into the lobbying business. The post notes it will be focusing its efforts on pushing Congress towards taking action against "monopolized tech giants." Gab is also considering filing a complaint with the FTC and, apparently, expanding its tech business CV by "building a… decentralized internet."

While none of these efforts would prevent Gab from suing Google over its ejection of the Gab app, it at least appears the platform's principals have decided there are better ways to be the change they want to see in the tech world.

Filed Under: antitrust, cda 230, lobbying, section 230
Companies: gab.ai, google, twitter


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  1. icon
    TenderBabyMeat (profile), 26 Oct 2017 @ 6:05am

    Re:

    I'd counter that their efforts in pushing for the reform is the nobler of the two endeavors. At some point, probably sooner rather than later, I feel it will become necessary to look at the ecosphere of app distribution as well as dissemination of data and communication. If we consider the effective de facto monopolies that Google and Apple have over app distribution, the argument can at least be made that they bear a responsibility of either neutrality or consistency of policy regarding what they make available. This would not be entirely dissimilar to the very arguments made in favor of net neutrality as consumers would have it applied to ISPs. Just as ISPs serve as the conduit between consumers and the wide open internet, so too do Google and Apple function as gatekeepers to the very functionality of mobile devices. What's more they do so as a duopoly.

    Sure, the counter to this stance is likely to be that it is possible (I will speak only to Android, as I have virtually no firsthand experience with iOS devices) that there is the alternative of sources for app installation such as Amazon or F-Droid or even direct download of APKs that can be sideloaded. But we all know well enough that Google has very much engineered Android to default to their services in almost every respect. If one is making the suggestion that it is acceptable for them to then decide on behalf of users what they can or cannot have access to for applications, then how can we not accept ISPs assertion that it is their right to prioritize or even control the data that gets communicated through their networks? Surely the logic must follow that users that do not care for ISP data handling practices have the ability to seek alternate means of data connection even if that means resorting to dialup (I would make the analogy that dialup is to net connection as F-Droid is to app distribution).

    The point being that Google and Apple have deliberately positioned themselves to be the monopolies of distribution of apps of their respective platforms. I legitimately do not see how an argument can be made against anti-trust practices Store policies notwithstanding if enforcement of those policies is inconsistent at best.

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