The social network known as Gab has filed a lawsuit against Google for removing it from Play, the Android app store offered by the corporate giant. Gab describes itself as being in favor of free speech and has become popular with libertarians. Detractors claim that it contains pornography, hate speech, and abusive language. Gab claims that the "free and open web" is in danger.

Other websites, YouTube accounts, and Twitter posters, have also fallen victim claims made by Google and other social media that they have violated posting norms. The pro-Trump duo known as “Diamond and Silk,” for instance, have complained that their videos have been demonetized on YouTube. Other accounts, including Spero News, have also seen their videos demonetized, allegedly because they were unsuitable for advertisers.

According to Gab’s legal counsel, Google has violated federal anti-trust laws because it owns competing apps such as YouTube and Google Plus. For its part, Google claims that Gab lacked sufficient moderation to be included for download. Gab has never been on Apple's app store.

Writing at Medium, Gab’s attorney, Marc Randazza, declared, "Google Play and Android have monopoly power in the app store market, and Google's apps YouTube and Google+ compete directly against Gab." Randazza added, "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."

Google said in a statement that it welcomes its time in court. "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.
"This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. This developer is welcome to appeal the suspension if they've addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies."

On Monday, Gab tweeted an email from its Australian-based domain registrar Asia Registry, giving it five days to transfer its domain. Asia Registry claims that Gab has violated Australia's anti-discrimination laws.This would effectively mean that Gab would be booted from the Internet. 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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