Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Google’s AI Harms News Publishers’ Revenue


A new class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in D.C. accuses Google and its parent company Alphabet of anticompetitive behavior, violating U.S. antitrust law. The lawsuit, filed by Arkansas-based publisher Helena World Chronicle, claims that Google’s AI technologies, including Search Generative Experience (SGE) and Bard AI chatbot, are harming news publishers’ bottom line.

Key Takeaway

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google, alleging that the company’s AI technologies are harming news publishers’ revenue through anticompetitive practices. The lawsuit highlights the impact of AI on publishers’ traffic and ad revenue, and seeks both monetary and injunctive relief.

Impact of AI on News Publishers

The lawsuit argues that Google’s AI technologies are “siphoning off” news publishers’ content, readers, and ad revenue through anticompetitive means. It specifically highlights how AI technologies like SGE and Bard AI chatbot exacerbate the issue. The complaint emphasizes that Google’s actions are “starving the free press” and causing news publishers to lose “billions of dollars.”

Google’s Use of Knowledge Graph and Featured Snippets

The lawsuit also points to Google’s older question-and-answer technologies, such as the “Knowledge Graph,” as part of the problem. It alleges that Google compiled a massive database by extracting information from publishers’ websites, leading to the misappropriation of content. Additionally, Google’s “Featured Snippets” were cited as diverting traffic away from publishers’ websites.

Concerns About AI-Based Search

The lawsuit raises concerns about the impact of AI on publishers’ businesses, citing a report that found Google’s AI could potentially answer user queries without requiring a click-through to publishers’ websites, resulting in a significant loss of traffic.

Legal Action and Requested Relief

In addition to seeking damages, the lawsuit requests an injunction requiring Google to obtain consent from publishers to use their website data for training its AI products. It also asks for measures to ensure that publishers who opt out of SGE can still appear in Google search results.

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