Republican National Committee Sues Google, Alleging Gmail Spam Filters Are Blocking Fundraising Emails

Less than three weeks before the midterm elections in the U.S., the Republican National Committee sued Google — claiming Gmail is flagging the group’s fundraising emails as spam because of the RNC’s conservative views.

The RNC filed a lawsuit Friday, Oct. 21, against Google in federal district court in California claiming the internet giant is “unlawfully discriminating against the Republican National Committee (‘RNC’) by throttling its email messages because of the RNC’s political affiliation and views.”

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The RNC asserted that Google’s political spam filtering has cost the org at least $75,000 in lost donations and alleged it faces long-term losses “in the millions of dollars.” The RNC’s suit seeks an injunction ordering Google to stop filtering its messages as spam plus unspecified monetary damages.

“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,” the RNC said in the lawsuit. “The timing of Google’s most egregious filtering is particularly damning.”

Google denies the RNC’s allegations. ”As we have repeatedly said, we simply don’t filter emails based on political affiliation. Gmail’s spam filters reflect users’ actions,” Google rep José Castañeda said in a statement to Reuters.

Google provides ”training and guidelines to campaigns” about its Gmail system, according to Castañeda. In addition, Google recently launched a pilot for political senders to help them bypass spam filters that was approved by the Federal Election Commission. “[W]e continue to work to maximize email deliverability while minimizing unwanted spam,” he said.

The RNC claims that Google’s “discrimination” has been ongoing for about 10 months “despite the RNC’s best efforts to work with Google.” However, the RNC “has not joined or even applied for” Google’s new spam-bypass program for political campaigns, The Verge reported last week.

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