Dominion Voting Systems has become the second voting tech company to sue Fox News for airing conspiracy theories about its products. The company sued Fox News for defamation in Delaware state court today, saying the network “endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” claiming Dominion manipulated votes and rigged the election against former President Donald Trump. It’s requesting $1.6 billion in damages alongside expenses for security and combating a “disinformation campaign.”
Dominion’s suit follows a February complaint against Fox from competing company Smartmatic. Both companies allege that, in the months following the 2020 presidential election, several Fox News hosts pushed a false narrative about them. The conspiracy — promoted by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — claimed Dominion was owned by Smartmatic, and both companies flipped votes to President Joe Biden. However, proponents never produced evidence supporting these claims, and they conflicted with the results of official audits that found no significant election fraud.
Like Smartmatic, Dominion says these false claims damaged its reputation and incited harassment against its employees, while boosting Fox’s ratings. “Fox’s pandering to the baseless narrative that Dominion rigged the election paid off big time. Its victim, however, was Dominion, not to mention the truth,” the complaint says.
Fox News didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but in response to the earlier Smartmatic suit, a spokesperson called the claims “meritless” and told The Verge that Fox was “committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion.”
Fox News isn’t Dominion’s only target. The company sued Powell in January and followed with a suit against Giuliani — as well as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch conspiracy promoter — last month. Powell responded to the suit against her earlier this week, arguing that her statements couldn’t be considered defamatory because “no reasonable person” would conclude they were factual.
Disinformation has become a focal point for critics of social media, with Congress dedicating a hearing to the topic yesterday. While lawmakers have had trouble pinpointing a solution for online disinformation, companies like Dominion and Smartmatic are testing the effects of existing laws — and Fox News has become one of their biggest targets.