Google has free speech right in search results, court confirms

Gigaom

A San Francisco court ruled last week that Google has the right to arrange its search results as it pleases, which confirms the company’s long-held position, while underscoring the stark difference in how U.S. and European authorities seek to regulate the search giant.

The new ruling, which is the first since 2007 to address Google’s rights under the First Amendment, came after a website called CoastNews argued that [company]Google[/company] had unfairly pushed it far down in its search results — even though, CoastNews claimed, its site appeared at the top of results created by [company]Bing [/company]and [company]Yahoo[/company]. CoastNews suggested the poor rankings were because Google wanted to eliminate CoastNews as a potential competitor.

Google responded by filing an “anti-SLAPP” motion, a legal tactic used to quickly challenge lawsuits that seek to stifle free speech. In a one-paragraph ruling, Judge Ernest Goldsmith granted the request, saying CoastNews’ claims against Google related to “constitutionally protected activity.”

The decision is important because it comes at a…

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