A federal district court in California on Friday denied Google’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the Silicon Valley giant is violating federal antitrust laws by preventing fair competition against its YouTube video platform. The lawsuit against Google, which has owned YouTube since its 2006 purchase for $1.65 billion, was brought in early 2021 by Rumble, the free speech competitor to YouTube. Its central claim is that Google’s abuse of its monopolistic stranglehold on search engines to destroy all competitors to its various other platforms is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which makes it unlawful to “monopolize, or attempt to monopolize…any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations.”
It is rare for antitrust suits against the four Big Tech corporate giants (Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon) to avoid early motions to dismiss. Friday’s decision against Google ensures that the suit now proceeds to the discovery stage, where Rumble will have the right to obtain from Google a broad and sweeping range of information about its practices, including internal documents on Google’s algorithmic manipulation of its search engine and the onerous requirements it imposes on companies dependent upon its infrastructure to all but force customers to use YouTube.
Founded in 2013, Rumble began experiencing explosive growth in the run-up to the 2020 election. Americans were encountering escalating and aggressive Big Tech censorship of political content as the election approached. Conservative politicians, followed by a wide range of heterodox voices on the right and left, began migrating by the millions away from Google’s YouTube to Rumble, which has promised and provided far more permissive free speech rights. That was at the time when Google and other Big Tech platforms — at the urging of the Democratic-controlled Congress — began aggressively increasing its censorship of political video content on YouTube in the name of combatting “disinformation” and “hate speech.”
The explosive user growth which Rumble enjoyed in 2020 has continued to rapidly increase, as Big Tech generally, and Google specifically, clamped down further on dissident views in the name of the COVID pandemic, and now even more so with respect to the US/NATO role in the war in Ukraine. More and more prominent politicians, journalists and commentators, along with smaller content creators, have either been banned by YouTube or left on their own accord to join Rumble as Google’s crackdown on free speech intensifies. The ability to speak more freely on Rumble regarding the most contentious political debates has become one of the key drivers of the exodus of users from YouTube to Rumble.
During the COVID pandemic, Rumble allowed far greater questioning of the claims and policies of U.S. public health official Dr. Anthony Fauci and the World Health Organization — regarding the virus’s origins, the efficacy of masks, and the justifiability of vaccine mandates — than Big Tech platforms permitted. For the first year of the pandemic, Big Tech users who questioned or rejected the official story that COVID-19 was zoonotic rather than due to a lab leak in Wuhan were silenced or banned: a censorship policy that was reversed only when the Biden administration itself admitted that it did not know the answer to that question and would officially investigate it.
Similarly, Americans who were stifled or outright barred by Big Tech from citing pre-election revelations about Joe Biden from the archive of his son obtained by The New York Post found a place, on Rumble, where they could openly reference and discuss them. And Rumble has aggressively resisted pressure campaigns from the U.S. government and corporate media outlets and outright legal bans enacted by the EU requiring all platforms to cease allowing “pro-Russian” news outlets such as RT and Sputnik to be heard.
Rumble’s user growth, driven overwhelmingly by growing anger toward Big Tech censorship and de-platforming, has continued to swell this year. As Investor Place’s Ian Cooper wrote in April, “its user base hit a new record of 41 million monthly active users in the first quarter of 2022. That is 22% growth quarter-over-quarter.” Moreover, “Rumble is setting user engagement records. In the first quarter of 2022, Rumble users watched about 10.5 billion minutes per month.”
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