Google’s Algorithms are Still Biased – Cost Republicans 2 billion
Google executives are testing a new program that would exempt all federal political emails from spam filtering algorithms. Commonly referred to as SFAs, spam filtering algorithms are automated systems that decide which emails are flagged as spam.
The program is a direct response to a North Carolina State University study that exposed shocking political bias in the way Google’s Gmail filters incoming messages. As I wrote in early July (click here to read), the study found that Gmail’s SFAs were blocking roughly 70% of fundraising emails from GOP campaigns and 10% from Democratic campaigns.
Given the fact that Gmail is the most popular email platform in the United States, Google’s spam filtering bias is estimated to have cost the Republican Party up to $2 billion in fundraising since 2019.
Not surprisingly, Google insists neither it nor its systems are biased and claims the high percentage of GOP fundraising emails being blocked is simply a result of SFAs adjusting to users’ preferences.
This claim, however, does not explain additional findings outlined in the report – including the propensity for the percentage of GOP emails being blocked by SFAs to increase during the weeks leading up to an election or a donation deadline.
“Big Tech’s bias is out of control,” argues Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). “Every single month – for seven months in a row – Google has systematically attacked the RNC’s email fundraising during important donation days at the end of the month.”
During these key fundraising periods, the RNC regularly sees its success rate for email delivery drop from over 90% to nearly 0%.
Moving forward, Google is seeking advice from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on how best to prevent SFAs from interfering with federal political campaigns.
“We want Gmail to provide a great experience for all of our users, including minimizing unwanted email, but we do not filter emails based on political affiliation,” stated Google’s Policy Communications Manager, Jose Castaneda. “We recently asked the FEC to advise us on a potential pilot for political bulk senders that would provide more transparency into email deliverability, while still letting users protect their inboxes by unsubscribing or labeling emails as spam.”
Understanding that the idea is almost guaranteed to wither and die as a low-priority project for Google, Senator John Thune (R-SD) is among a group of 20 Republican lawmakers pushing a bill that would ban all major email providers from using algorithms to sort emails sent by federal political campaigns. The bill is unlikely to garner support from Democrats – whose emails are already being delivered – but could succeed if Republicans win control of Congress in November.
Google’s blatant and unlawful political bias is something about which we have written at length. You can view more examples by exploring the links below: