Apple is one of five tech companies — along with Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — targeted in a new lawsuit accusing them of displaying bias against right-wing news outlets.
The lawsuit comes from Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch and a former Department of Justice prosecutor. It alleges that the companies are working together to “quash and/or limit advocacy by conservative and pro-Trump public interest groups, advocates and others to further the leftist anti-conservative agendas.”
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
It seeks upward of a billion dollars in damage, noting that even this large sum would “[pale] in comparison to what the Commission of the European Union has already levied against such social media giants such as Google for their alleged ruthless tactics in stifling competition.”
Of the companies named in the suit, Apple appears somewhat of an outlier. A press release regarding the lawsuit references “social media giants,” which is not really a term that can be readily applied to Apple. While practices like Twitter’s “shadow banning” and Facebook supposedly suppressing news stories of interest to conservative users are mentioned, it’s not clear what Apple may have done wrong.
Apple’s inclusion in the lawsuit
The closest recent news story that applies to Apple in this vein concerns the removal of five right-wing Infowars podcasts from its Podcasts app. However, Apple has yet to remove the organization’s app from the App Store. In a statement at the time of the Infowars controversy, Apple said it supports “all points of view” being represented in the App Store.
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, many tech companies — including Apple — have been under pressure to crack down on what is considered to be “fake news.” This term has often been used to refer to the news stories shared by certain right-leaning news outlets.
You can read Klayman’s lawsuit here (.pdf).