July 25 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is suing Google over complaints that the search engine censored her presidential campaign by suspending her advertising campaign for several hours last month.
The Hawaiian Democratic representative said in a statement that the suspension came shortly after the first debate when Gabbard was one of the most-searched Democrats. She also alleges that Google's algorithms send her campaign emails to spam folders at a disproportionately high rate.
"In the hours following the first debate, while millions of Americans search for info about Tulsi, Google suspended her search ad account [without] explanation," the campaign said. "It is vital to our democracy that big tech companies can't affect the outcome of elections."
Gabbard is polling about 1 percent in a crowded field of more than 20 Democrats. Her complaint in the lawsuit said Google didn't offer a good explanation for the account being suspended on June 27 and 28.
"Throughout this period, the campaign worked frantically to gather more information about the suspension," the complaint reads. "In response, the campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google."
Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto said Gabbard's brief suspension was triggered by "large spending changes" that are in place to prevent fraud and protect users.
President Donald Trump hosted a presidential summit earlier this month to discuss bias in social media.