Google faces lawsuit over removing Gab from Play Store

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Google suspended the Gab app in August.

Social network Gab has filed a lawsuit against Google for removing it from Play, the Android app store.

Gab describes itself as a platform dedicated to free speech and has become popular with the alt-right.

Messages posted often contain abusive language, pornography and hate speech.

Gab's lawyer said Google was violating anti-trust laws because it owns rival apps such as YouTube and Google Plus. Google said Gab lacked sufficient moderation to be included for download.

It has never been available on Apple's app store.

"Google Play and Android have monopoly power in the app store market, and Google's apps YouTube and Google+ compete directly against Gab," said lawyer Marc Randazza, representing Gab, in a post on publishing platform Medium.

"Google's intimate partnership with Twitter, which also competes against Gab, makes Google's control of all Android apps available through the Play Store a serious restraint of trade issue."

Google removed the app in August.

The tech giant said in a statement that it was happy to defend itself in court.

"In order to be on the Play Store, social networking apps need to demonstrate a sufficient level of moderation, including for content that encourages violence and advocates hate against groups of people," it said.

"This is a long-standing rule and clearly stated in our developer policies. This developer is welcome to appeal the suspension if they've addressed the policy violations and are compliant with our Developer Program Policies."

The BBC contacted Gab for further comment but the platform has previously tweeted that the BBC is on its "media blacklist".

On Monday, the platform tweeted an email from its Australian-based domain registrar Asia Registry, giving it five days to transfer its domain.

It stated that Gab was in breach of Australia's anti-discrimination laws.