Lee Anderson Wins High Court Case Against Google

After nearly a year locked in a legal fight with the tech giants, Red Wall heavyweight fighter Lee Anderson has finally walked away victorious after Google issued a formal High Court apology to the MP for serving a defamatory advert falsely accusing him of protecting a paedophile. An advert which was targeted at Guido readers…

It was bought via Google’s programmatic network and was unseen by our commercial representatives, nor indeed ourselves, until it popped up. Google has a near monopoly on this type of advertising, where publishers offload unsold advertising inventory to Google to fill. Scam adverts get through frequently, though this is the first time we have ever seen a defamatory attack via this method:

While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Google finally apologised in court. They also accepted that they should not have allowed this advert to appear. Guido would argue that they were negligent in allowing this advert to appear and they should be held liable for any damages arising in this situation. Guido argued before the case began that we should not be a party to it because we had no knowledge of the advert prior to it appearing in a space that Google had effectively rented and published to without our active involvement. We were akin to the paper supplier to a newspaper, not the printer or publisher. This settlement avoided the arguments being heard, though no doubt lawyers will study this for future cases. 

Lee tells Guido that

“I am pleased that Google has publicly apologised in Court and put an end to this very difficult and distressing time for me and my family.

I do however think it is a real shame that it has taken so long for this to happen and that I had to get lawyers involved and threaten Google with legal action to get here.

I want to thank Guido for swiftly taking down this ad once they were made aware and for their ongoing support through a difficult time.”

M’learned friends can read and study the official Statement (Anderson v Google). We’re just glad that Lee fought and won justice in his battle against the trillion dollar plus Google behemoth…

Read Lee’s full statement below:

“I am pleased that Google has publicly apologised in Court and put an end to this very difficult and distressing time for me and my family.

I do however think it is a real shame that it has taken so long for this to happen and that I had to get lawyers involved and threaten Google with legal action to get here. 

I remain concerned that Google’s services have been used by my desperate political opponents to smear my good name to thousands of people. I understand there are people who will sink to the lowest levels to undermine me and my work, but to see them being able to use a company like Google to amplify their bile to a massive audience is difficult to comprehend.

The regulation of internet advertising is a really important issue that needs further consideration in Parliament. Whether it’s defamatory adverts or bitcoin scams, we need to make it clear to the big Internet companies making millions in profits from advertising online that they are responsible for the content they choose to display. 

Many of these companies make a big deal about the systems they have in place to police the adverts they display. But despite this we’ve previously seen loads of scam ads using the likes of Martin Lewis (without his permission or knowledge) to try and dupe people. In my case, an advert making abhorrent statements about an elected politician and his staff was displayed online to thousands of people after it got past Google’s internal systems. 

I’m really glad Google decided to apologise and acknowledge its failings, but I’m an MP and that took many months and the involvement of specialist lawyers. My constituents and many others will not be in such a fortunate position, but they need to be protected. 

Internet companies are happy to take money to display adverts, we need to make it clear they take full legal responsibility for the content of those adverts as well.

I would like to thank my legal team, James Roochove and Amanda Kearsley at the law firm Astraea Linskills and William Bennett QC and Felicity McMahon from 5RB chambers. They have been amazing and I would not have got this unprecedented apology in the High Court without them.”

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