Republicans sue Google for ‘discriminatory’ spam filtering practices

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is suing Google for allegedly sending “millions” of campaign emails to users’ spam folders (through axios). According to the lawsuit filed Friday in California’s Eastern District Court, the RNC is accusing Google of “limiting its email messages because of the RNC’s political affiliations and views.”

The RNC has been complaining for months about Google’s alleged bias in spam filtering, claiming it disproportionately places Republican-backed political emails in spam folders compared to messages sent by Democrats. The frustration of the RNC was only compounded by a Study from North Carolina State University that suggested that Google was more likely to send RNC emails to spam folders, leading to a group of Republicans to file a bill that would prevent email providers like Google from filtering political emails using algorithms.

“This discrimination has been going on for about ten months – despite the efforts of the RNC to partner with Google”

As noted by the lawsuit, the RNC alleges that Google has continued to send RNC emails “en masse” to users’ spam folders during “pivotal points” for gaining supporters and fundraising for the upcoming midterm elections. It goes on to say that Google’s alleged filtering takes place “at about the same time at the end of each month,” and that the end of October is one of the most critical times to fundraise for Republicans. struggling to achieve their fundraising goals in the months leading up to the midterm elections.

“This discrimination has been going on for about ten months despite the RNC’s efforts to partner with Google,” the lawsuit said. “Throughout 2022, the RNC has reached out to Google month after month to get an explanation and a solution. But every statement has been refuted and every solution has failed.”

And while the lawsuit doesn’t explicitly mention the pilot program set up by Google, it does say that the company provided the organization’s digital division with a training session on email best practices on Aug. 11 — the same day the Federal Election Commission issued the order. spam from google approved – proofing pilot. “Despite the RNC following Google’s best practices,” the lawsuit states, “the filtering occurred again.”

“As we’ve said repeatedly, we just don’t filter emails based on political affiliation. Gmail’s spam filters mirror users’ actions,” Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement. The edge. “We provide training and guidance for campaigns, we recently launched an FEC-approved political sender pilot, and we continue to work to maximize email deliverability and minimize unwanted spam.”

The RNC alleges that Google hampered its ability to communicate with voters and cost the organization more than $75,000 in lost donations, with alleged long-term losses totaling “in the millions of dollars.”

Update October 22, 10:50 AM ET: Updated to add a statement from a Google spokesperson.