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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The RNC sued Google over Gmail spam filtering

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Earlier this year, Google threw a bone at Republicans who felt Gmail unfairly filtered their campaign emails to users’ spam folders. Those same Republicans are now suing Google anyway.

Axios reported that the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against Google in California for allegedly and unfairly throwing GOP campaign emails to the spam folder at a time when fundraising is especially crucial ahead of the November congressional midterm elections. The lawsuit specifically alleges that said emails get filtered to spam around the end of each month, when fundraising is supposedly at its most fruitful.

This is notable because Google just launched a program in August (with approval from the Federal Election Commission) that individual campaigns can apply for with the intent of stopping emails from getting sent to spam. Per the Axios report, the RNC is not part of this program, though it’s not clear whether that’s by choice or not. If it were, its emails would avoid traditional spam detection and would have a special banner on them signaling that the sender is part of the program.

The GOP’s distrust of Google’s spam filtering gained traction when a study from North Carolina State University apparently found that Republican emails were sent to spam at a higher rate than those sent by Democrats. However, Google has repeatedly denied that this is the case, and Mashable’s own reporting on the subject found that an email sender’s habits are more likely to cause spam filtering than their political affiliation. In other words, if you send a lot of similar emails over and over and they don’t get opened very often, that’s a one-way ticket to Spamville.

Maybe there’s a Google conspiracy against Republicans or maybe the GOP just doesn’t understand how to send emails. Either way, it may go to the courts now.





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