Courts in the US have consistently held that search engines have almost total discretion over the content on their pages and ranking algorithms under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
However, a court in Florida has now allowed a case against Google to proceed, in which the search engine manually removed links it categorized as pure spam and in violation of quality guidelines.
According to the facts laid out in court documents, in 2014 e-ventures was notified by Google that 231 websites owned by e-ventures were being manually removed by Google from all of Google s search results because they had been identified as pure spam.'
The plaintiff argues its sites were not spam, that Google delisted it erroneously and that it has suffered irreparable harm as a result.
The factual essence of those claims is that Google capriciously removed plaintiff s sites in violation of its own policies and sought to use delisting as a tool to force plaintiff to buy AdWords.
But the ruling is noteworthy because it seems to fly in the face of established legal precedent.