The Republican National Committee (RNC) recently filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly sending the organization’s emails straight to users’ spam folders.
According to the lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of California, the committee accuses the tech giant of “throttling its email messages because of the RNC’s political affiliation and views” and “discriminating” against it.
“Google has relegated millions of RNC emails en masse to potential donors’ and supporters’ spam folders during pivotal points in election fundraising and community building,” said the RNC in the lawsuit.
Email services’ spam filters typically weed through unsolicited “spam” messages and reroute them to a separate folder. According to the RNC, for most of the month, almost all of its emails end up in the inboxes of users, but by the end of the month, the most critical time for fundraising, almost all emails were sent to spam folders.
“Critically and suspiciously, this end of the month period is historically when the RNC’s fundraising is most successful,” said the lawsuit, pointing out that it didn’t matter if the email was about voting, community outreach, or donating.
According to the RNC, the “discrimination” has been occurring for around ten months despite its attempts to work with Google. The committee said the fact that so much of its mail was ending up in spam folders has cost it revenue and will continue to do so in the remaining weeks before the November midterm election.
“Enough is enough” — RNC Chairwoman
“Enough is enough — we are suing Google for their blatant bias against Republicans,” said Ronna McDaniel, RNC Chairwoman. “For ten months in a row, Google has sent crucial end-of-month Republican GOTV and fundraising emails to spam with zero explanation. We are committed to putting an end to this clear pattern of bias.”
In a statement, Google denied the charges. “As we have repeatedly said, we simply don’t filter emails based on political affiliation. Gmail’s spam filters reflect users’ actions,” said Jose Castaneda, spokesperson for Google. He added that the company provides guidelines and training to campaigns and works to “maximize email deliverability while minimizing unwanted spam.”Google contends its algorithms are designed to be neutral. However, a North Carolina State University study found that Gmail was much more likely to block messages from conservative causes or organizations. The study was based on emails sent during the 2020 presidential campaign. The study showed around 10% of emails from left-leaning candidates were directed to spam folders, while 77% from conservative candidates or causes were sent to spam.