Google is being sued by the Republican National Committee for email spam filters.
Prior to the November midterm elections, the Republican National Committee launched a lawsuit against tech giant Google. Google has denied the RNC’s allegations that it has been blocking its email solicitations.
The lawsuit, which was submitted to the District Court for the Eastern District of California on Friday night, accuses Gmail of unfairly “discriminating” against the RNC by sending the organization’s emails to users’ spam folders, which had a detrimental effect on the organization’s efforts to raise money and mobilize voters in crucial swing states.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told The Associated Press in a statement, “Enough is enough; we are suing Google for their clear bias against Republicans. “Google has sent key end-of-month Republican GOTV and fundraising emails to spam for ten months running with no justification. We are committed to ending this blatant pattern of bias.
Google debunked the accusations in a statement. “As we’ve said time and time again, we don’t filter emails based on political party. The business aims to “maximize email deliverability while eliminating undesirable spam,” according to spokesperson José Castaeda, who also noted that Gmail’s spam filters “mirror users’ activities.”
The subject of the complaint is how Google’s Gmail, the most popular email service in the world with approximately 1.5 billion users, filters out solicitations and other content to help users avoid being overrun by junk mail.
Google and other major email providers develop programs that identify communications likely to be regarded as unwanted and move them to spam folders, which are typically rarely if ever, browsed by recipients. This is done in an effort to filter out content that account holders may not want in their inboxes.
For example, near the end of each month, when political organizations typically send more emails, the lawsuit claims that Google “relegated millions of RNC emails en masse to potential contributors’ and supporters’ spam folders during key moments in election fundraising and community building.”
It doesn’t matter if the email is about volunteering, voting, or charitable giving. It also doesn’t matter if the emails are delivered to recipients who specifically asked for them. Although Google claims that its algorithms are unbiased, a North Carolina State University research published in March indicated that Gmail was much more likely to ban messages from conservative causes.
According to the study, which was based on emails sent during the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, Gmail marked 77% of emails from “right-wing” candidates as spam, compared to 10% of emails from “left-wing” candidates.
The study discovered that Yahoo and Microsoft’s Outlook, competitors of Gmail, were more inclined to favor pitches from conservative groups.
The RNC used that study as justification in April to request that the Federal Election Commission look into Google’s “censorship” of its fundraising efforts, which it claimed amounted to an in-kind donation to Democratic candidates. The RNC also cited this case as “a financially devastating example of Silicon Valley tech companies unfairly shaping the political playing field to benefit their preferred far-left candidates.”
Since then, the commission has approved a trial program that gives political groups a method to bypass spam filters and deliver their fundraising emails to recipients’ main inboxes. Gmail takes part in the “Verified Sender Program,” which enables senders the option to avoid using conventional spam filters while still allowing consumers to unsubscribe from a sender.
A sender is required to remove that Gmail address from their distribution lists if the unsubscribe button is clicked. The RNC has not signed up to take part in the trial program as of Friday night.
Republicans have frequently tried to blame large technology companies like Twitter and Facebook that they claim were biassed against former President Donald Trump in their attempts to cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 election without repeating the most extreme and fanciful claims about tainted voting machines and stolen votes.
There is no proof of the widespread fraud Trump claims, according to a long number of state and local election officials, courts, and members of his own administration.