— Republicans sue Google for putting their campaign emails in spam.
— The party says that the company is discriminating against them.
— Google rolled out a feature to help the party’s emails sidestep auto spam but they allegedly didn’t use it or it didn’t work.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) accused Google of targeting it by sending its campaign emails to Gmail users’ spam folders. The political body claimed that by comparison, their Democratic rivals did not experience the same thing, at least, not in similar volume.
“This discrimination has been ongoing for about ten months — despite the RNC’s best efforts to work with Google,” the lawsuit said. “Throughout 2022, the RNC has engaged with Google month after month to obtain an explanation and a solution. But every explanation has been refuted and every solution has failed.”
The party claimed that so far, the Gmail spam filter had cost it $75,000, and the losses could rise to millions of dollars. It is not clear if it will sue for damages or just the end of filtering political emails.
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Initially, the RNC had complained about the filtering policy of the emailing service, saying that their emails were being restricted because of their affiliations and views. In a CBS report, a North Carolina State University study claimed that the Gmail spam feature could have a political bias.
As the party saw no favourable changes, a group of senators later introduced a bill to block Google from filtering political emails with algorithms. In the press release, the senators claimed that the percentage of Republican to Democrats emails moved to spam was disproportional.
“Earlier this year, a non-partisan study found that Google’s algorithm marked nearly 70 percent of emails from Republican campaigns during the 2020 election as spam compared to only 8 percent of emails from Democrat campaigns,” the statement read.
However, Google is less likely to surrender its filtering power, and instead, it came up with a solution to help political email campaigners avoid the spam algorithm. Yet, a source said that as of early October, a month after the company launched the program, the RNC had not begun using it. Although the party said it had adopted all the ‘solutions’ Google suggested in its lawsuit, it does not mention the program specifically.
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