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YouTube Competitor Rumble Hits Google With Antitrust Allegations

Jan. 11, 2021, 8:28 PM

Rumble Inc., a streaming video site increasingly favored by users who think conservatives are censored online, sued Google in federal court in California Monday, claiming the tech giant unlawfully tilts search engine results toward its sister company YouTube.

“By unfairly rigging its search algorithms,” Google has been “able to wrongfully divert massive traffic to YouTube, depriving Rumble of the additional traffic, users, uploads, brand awareness and revenue it would have otherwise received,” the complaint says.

The monopolization lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the latest of dozens launched by competitors, publishers, advertisers, and consumers alleging a wide array of anti-competitive tactics aimed at cornering the online search and advertising markets.

It also echoes some of the allegations found in the landmark antitrust cases brought by the Justice Department and nearly every state. Those lawsuits focus on claims that Google manipulated advertising mechanics—including by colluding with Facebook—and required apps like YouTube to be pre-installed on Android phones.

The complaint doesn’t mention politics. But it comes the same day Parler, a social media app that touts itself as Twitter without rules, challenged Amazon’s decision to stop hosting it in the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Rumble’s lawsuit seeks more than $6 billion in treble damages for losses that “greatly exceeded $2 billion.”

Cause of Action: Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.

Relief: Treble damages, an injunction, costs, and fees.

Response: Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Attorneys: Rumble is represented by Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP.

The case is Rumble Inc. v. Google LLC, N.D. Cal., No. 21-cv-229, complaint filed 1/11/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Leonard in Washington at mleonard@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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