Is Google Sending Republican Fundraising Emails To Your Spam Folder? The RNC thinks so – Fortune | Mobiz World

The Republican National Committee has filed a lawsuit against tech giant Google, alleging the company suppressed its email requests ahead of November’s midterm elections — a claim Google denies.

The lawsuit, filed Friday night in the District Court for the Eastern District of California, accuses Gmail of “discriminating” against the RNC by unfairly sending the group’s emails to users’ spam folders, affecting both fundraising as well as voting efforts impacted in key momentum states.

“Enough is enough – we are suing Google for its apparent bias against Republicans,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to The Associated Press. “For ten straight months, Google has spammed key Republican GOTV and month-end donation emails to spam with no explanation. We are committed to breaking this clear pattern of bias.”

Google rejected the allegations in a statement. “As we have said repeatedly, we simply do not filter email based on political affiliation. Gmail’s spam filters reflect users’ actions,” spokesman José Castañeda said, adding that the company provides training and policies for campaigns and works to “maximize email deliverability while minimizing unwanted spam.” .

The lawsuit focuses on how Google’s Gmail, the world’s largest email service with about 1.5 billion users, screens solicitations and other material to prevent users from being inundated with junk mail. To try to filter out material that account holders might not want in their inboxes, Google and other major email providers create programs that flag communications that are likely to be found unwanted and move them to spam folders that are not usually rarely, if ever, read by recipients.

The lawsuit states that Google “bulked millions of RNC emails into the spam folders of potential donors and supporters during key moments in election fundraising and community building” — particularly at the end of each month when political groups tend to send more messages. “It doesn’t matter if the email is about donations, voting, or public relations. And it doesn’t matter if the emails are sent to people who requested them.”

Google claims its algorithms are described as neutral, but a study published in March by North Carolina State University found that Gmail is far more likely to block messages for conservative reasons. The study, based on emails sent during the 2020 US presidential campaign, estimated that Gmail placed about 10% of emails from “left” candidates in spam folders, while 77% from “right “ Candidates have been marked as spam.

Gmail’s competitors Yahoo and Microsoft’s Outlook tended to prefer conservative proposals over Gmail, according to the study.

The RNC seized on that study in April to ask the Federal Elections Commission to investigate Google’s “censorship” of its fundraising efforts, which allegedly amounted to a donation in kind to Democratic candidates and served as a “financially devastating example of Silicon Valley’s tech companies unfairly shaping the political playing field Wisely in favor of their preferred far-left candidates.”

Since then, the commission has approved a pilot program that creates a way for political committees to bypass spam filters so their donation emails make their way to recipients’ primary inboxes. Gmail participates in the Verified Sender Program, which allows senders to bypass traditional spam filters, but also gives users the ability to unsubscribe from a sender. When the unsubscribe button is clicked, a sender should remove that Gmail address from their distribution list.

As of Friday evening, the RNC had not signed up to participate in the pilot program.

Republicans who have tried to cast doubt on the 2020 election outcome without parroting the most extreme and baseless claims about corrupt voting machines and stolen votes have often tried to blame big tech companies like Twitter and Facebook for allegedly opposing the former President Donald are biased Trump. A long list of state and local election officials, courts and members of Trump’s own administration have stated that there is no evidence of Trump’s allegations of mass fraud.

___ Colvin reported from Akron, Ohio.

Sign up for the Fortune Features Email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews and investigations.

Leave a Comment