Republicans are taking Google to court with hopes of gaining more direct access to your inbox.
A lawsuit filed Friday by the Republican National Committee claims 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 has been stoking a fight with Google for months, accusing the tech giant’s email service of unfairly sending conservatives’ emails to users’ spam folders at a higher rate than emails from liberals ahead of this year's midterm elections.
Google has denied the claims.
“As we have repeatedly said, we simply don’t filter emails based on political affiliation," Google spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement. "Gmail’s spam filters reflect users’ actions."
Check out this post I wrote about the RNC's gripes, and Google’s attempts to resolve them, earlier this year. Google developed a tool to help Republicans evade the spam filter, but as The Verge reported just this month, the RNC hasn't even used it.
That’s contributed to my belief this lawsuit is more about upholding the conservative movement's depiction of itself as a victim of Big Tech manipulation rather than actually resolving what’s seemingly a nonissue.
In their lawsuit, Republicans cited a study out of North Carolina State University, showing Republican-sent emails marked as spam more often than Democrat-sent emails, as evidence of anti-conservative bias at Google.
But the authors of the study have refuted that claim and said Republicans have misrepresented the research in their effort to seem oppressed. In fact, the study found various email platforms exhibited unintentional bias toward both conservatives and progressives, but it found this bias could be remedied if people simply adjusted their email settings.
Relatedly, this Mashable post from May does a good job of explaining how GOP’s poor crafting of emails is a likely culprit behind so many of them landing in people’s spam folders — not nefarious machinations at Google.
Republicans don't want to grapple with that possibility. Their lawsuit shows they'd rather deflect blame.