Tech

Google Seeks To Dismiss RNC Lawsuit Alleging Biased Email Filtering

Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

James Lynch Reporter
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Google is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit from the Republican National Committee (RNC) alleging bias in the company’s political email filtering.

Google filed a motion to dismiss in a California court Monday, saying “[The RNC] seeks to blame Google based on a theory or political bias that is both illogical and contrary to the facts alleged in its own complaint,” Axios reported, citing the filing from Google’s lawyers.

“Google has arbitrarily throttled the RNC’s ability to communicate with Gmail users by routing nearly 100% of RNC emails to spam during key fundraising and GOTV periods like clockwork each month,” the RNC alleged in a press release Oct. 21 announcing it had filed suit against Google in federal court. (RELATED: ‘Unwavering’: Over 150 GOP Megadonors Endorse Ronna McDaniel For Another Term As RNC Chair)

The RNC cited a non-partisan study from North Carolina State University (NC State) showing Gmail was 50% more likely to mark a Republican email as spam during the 2020 presidential election campaign than a Democratic email, Axios reported in April 2022. Google argued the study did not sufficiently account for past user behavior, which the company said is its overriding factor for spam filtering.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) dismissed an RNC complaint against Google in a Jan. 11 letter obtained by CNN.  “Google’s overwhelmingly disproportionate suppression of Republican emails constitutes an illegal corporate contribution to Democrat candidates and urges the FEC to launch a formal investigation into Google’s biased practices,” the RNC had alleged in an April 27 press release based on the NC State study.

Google believes the FEC’s decision proves “this suit is without merit,” a company spokesperson told the Daily Caller. “We will keep investing in spam-filtering technologies that protect people from unwanted messages while still allowing senders to reach the inboxes of users who want to see those messages,” the spokesperson continued.

Google received FEC approval in August 2022 for a program enabling campaign emails to bypass automatic spam filters ahead of the midterm elections, according to Axios. Over 100 political committees took part in the program, which is set to end Jan. 31, the outlet added.

“Google’s pilot program didn’t address the problem, and only handed more power and control to Big Tech,” RNC spokesman Nathan Brand told the Daily Caller. “The RNC will hold Big Tech accountable for continuing to put its thumb on the scales to help Democrats win elections.”