Google is in hot water for allegedly deciding which political parties received attention in an Aussie election.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Sex Party has lodged a formal complaint against Google with the US Department of Justice and the Australian competition watchdog.
It claims that Google was corrupt and illegally interfered with the conduct of a recent Victorian by-election. The search engine a;;eged;y refused to run its advertisements in the lead-up to the July 12 election for the state seat of Melbourne. It is the second time that this has happened. Google refused to run party adverts during the last federal election.
Facebook also rejected Sex Party ads during the recent City of Sydney Council elections. Facebook accused the party of promoting “adult products or services”.
Unfortunately when this is carried out by a company, it amounts to election fraud. As the Australian Sex Party president Fiona Patten points out that this is causing “unlawful interference in the conduct of a state election in Victoria” and having “corrupt intent”.
By treating the Sex Party differently to other political parties and refusing to budge it had incorrectly applied its own policies, Google broke the law.
This effectively gave the Party a disadvantage to the Labor Party and the Greens.
Patten said that was corruption which enabled Google to make more money. The Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate and the federal government relying on the Greens support, and the federal government considering legislation and policies that will affect the business operations of Google. It was therefore to the benefit of Google to have treated the Greens favourably.
Google rejected the Sex Party’s ads for AdWords, or sponsored search results, saying they breached its rules which prevent solicitation of donations by a website that did not display tax exempt status.
But Patten pointed out that the Greens, Labor and Family First all had donations buttons on their sites and none had tax deductibility information.
Google continued its ban on the ads after the Sex Party amended its website to state that donations under $1500 to political parties were tax-deductible.
Then Google just ignored the party’s letters. Apparently the Sex Party ads were reinstated on election eve after Fairfax reported that the party was considering suing Google.
Google is now saying that it is taking the allegations very seriously and confirmed that violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act were prohibited under Google’s “code of conduct”.