Court Allows Google to Delist Sites as Form of Protected Speech

On February 8, 2017, a Florida court reaffirmed Google’s right to determine which content appears in its search results as a matter of protected speech under the First Amendment. The case, e-ventures Worldwide, LLC vs. Google, involved e-ventures—and SEO company—suing Google on numerous claims, including that of unfair competition.

In short, Google delisted all sites created by e-ventures after Google found those sites to violate its quality guidelines. e-ventures eventually lost the case to Google on a motion for summary judgment. In its ruling, the Florida court stated the following:

Google’s actions in formulating rankings for its search engine and in determining whether certain websites are contrary to Google’s guidelines and thereby subject to removal are the same as decisions by a newspaper editor regarding which content to publish, which article belongs on the front page, and which article is unworthy of publication. The First Amendment protects these decisions, whether they are fair or unfair, or motivated by profit or altruism.

Learn more about this case on or read the final court order.