The Republican Party has reportedly won its war against Google over its spam policy, and apparently, the media isn’t thrilled.
“Google is working on a way to ensure emails from US political campaigns reach users’ Gmail inboxes instead of automatically getting dumped into the spam folder,” according to an Engadget report filed late last month.
“The company has asked the Federal Election Commission for approval on a plan to make emails from ‘authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC’ exempt from spam detection, as long they abide by Gmail’s rules on phishing, malware and illegal content.”
But this, according to Democrats and their media allies, is a very bad thing.
Google is asking the FEC for permission to let political email not be classifiable as spam.
It’s Google’s response to the fact that Trump spams his marks so much that even they flag them, leading Republican emails to be disproportionately flagged. Yet more coddling of the right.
— Matthew Sheffield (@mattsheffield) July 13, 2022
Stopping campaign emails from going into people’s spam folders “could reshape the experience of Gmail users,” The Washington Post ominously warned Friday.
“The amount of political fundraising conducted over email and text has exploded in recent years, adding to the deluge of promotional messages swamping Americans every day. The program could further intensify the inundation,” the Post added.
This has been a longtime issue that first began receiving publicity in 2016, when supporters of then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump began complaining that his campaign emails were being funneled into their spam folders.
The issue resurfaced again this past spring when North Carolina State University’s Department of Computer Science published a study revealing that Google’s Gmail was disproportionately shunting emails from conservative sources to the spam folder.
The study specifically “found that Gmail sent 77 percent of right-wing candidate emails to spam, compared with 10 percent of left-wing candidate emails,” the Post, to its credit, admits.
In response to the study, the Republican Party effectively declared war on Google.
‘Horrifying’: Ronna McDaniel sounds off on study that found majority GOP emails went to spam, not so much for Dems via @americanwire_ – https://t.co/y6rvHPBRxa
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 30, 2022
“By the end of April, the GOP’s three main party committees had filed a complaint against Google with the FEC, citing the North Carolina State study and alleging ‘Illegal In-Kind Contributions Made by Google to Biden For President and Other Democrat Candidates,'” according to the Post.
“Around the same time, representatives from the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and from a leading GOP digital strategy firm, Targeted Victory, briefed senators on the party’s poor performance with Gmail inboxes.”
And then in May, Senate Republicans invited Google’s chief legal officer, Kent Walker, out to lunch so he could “explain the company’s spam detection systems and answer questions.”
The meeting was reportedly “tense.”
“Walker reiterated to senators that filtering bias is unrelated to political affiliation and pointed out that the North Carolina State researchers said the discrepancies likely have to do with Gmail’s weighing of ‘past user behavior,’ meaning Gmail marks emails as spam based on how users have marked emails before,” Politico reported at the time.
The GOP senators apparently didn’t believe them.
One senator who attended the meeting described it as “short of hostile, but confrontational.”
The following month, top House Republicans proposed legislation to stop Google from funneling GOP campaign emails into people’s spam folder.
Kevin McCarthy, top Republicans propose legislation to stop Gmail censorship of conservatives https://t.co/cMyNkywcVc pic.twitter.com/oyEmCufA90
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 23, 2022
The Political BIAS Emails Act would, if ever signed into law, “prohibit large email platforms like Google’s Gmail from using filtering algorithms on emails sent from a political campaign unless the owner or user of the email account took action to apply a label such as spam.”
It’d also “allow political campaigns to request a report on information specific to the individual campaign including the total number of emails that reached the intended recipient’s primary inbox,” and “require large email platforms to provide political campaigns best practices on steps the campaign can take to increase the number of emails reaching a recipient’s primary inbox.”
The combined pressure worked, and Google is now trying to make amends. But as noted earlier, the left isn’t pleased. To hear them tell it, Republicans have effectively bamboozled Google — as if they’re the ones who did something wrong:
The is the GOPs MO. Lie about a problem that doesnt exist, cry to the refs and the refs try to “correct” the system that already worked, but didn’t favor the GOP.
— Another Powell (@realRexPowell) July 29, 2022
The GOP doesn’t handle rejection very well, does it?
I’ve heard that trump/GOP send out large numbers of fundraising emails, sounds like spam to me.
— Iggy (Carolyn from Maryland’s pet rock) (@morbidcuriosit9) July 29, 2022
White males cave to white male tears.
— A blue state of mind ☮️ 🇱🇷, MBA (@KY_native) July 29, 2022
It’s not clear what being white has to do with Google’s spam policy.
According to Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel, on the same day that the Post published its hit piece on Republicans, Google re-upped its alleged censorship.
Google just started sending all the RNC’s emails to spam AGAIN … they’ve done this at the end of every month for 8 months in a row now. https://t.co/5sBIk5VXXk
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 29, 2022
This happened the SAME DAY the Washington Post published a story about Google targeting Republican emails.https://t.co/AdmFGATo5t
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 29, 2022
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