The Federal Election Commission just dismissed a complaint from several Republican entities saying Google’s Gmail spam filter was biased in favor of Democrats, constituting a potential in-kind contribution to Democrat campaigns. The evidence, including MRC analysis, seems to indicate the FEC is wrong.
The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 17 that the FEC ruled against the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee in their complaint.
The Republicans cited an “academic study” from North Carolina State University showing that Gmail sent almost 70 percent of Republican candidates’ emails to spam while it sent only about 8 percent of Democrats’ emails to spam. Republicans said the filtering “amounted to unreported campaign contributions to Democrats,” The Journal explained.
The FEC reportedly downplayed the disparity, citing the same study and arguing that the partisan bias was unintentional and Google’s algorithm simply filters spam, as The Journal wrote. Because Google is always perfectly honest, right FEC? The FEC would seem to be saying that the vast majority of Republican emails are in fact spam, and thus deserve to be filtered out, while almost no Democrat emails are spam. Is that not a partisan bias?
MRC Free Speech America has also conducted studies proving that Google has an anti-Republican bias. For instance, in Oct. 2022, MRC found Google manipulated search results to bury Senate Republican candidates’ campaign websites in key races before the 2022 midterm elections, while highlighting their opponents’ campaign sites in organic search results. Bing and DuckDuckGo produced more neutral results than Google, per the study. Is it really beyond the pale for Google to pull the same shenanigans with Gmail?
As MRC founder and president L. Brent Bozell said, “Google must be investigated for its un-American efforts to sway the election.”
Google, however, celebrated the FEC decision as proof of its political neutrality. “The Commission’s bipartisan decision to dismiss this complaint reaffirms that Gmail does not filter emails for political purposes,” boasted Google spokesman José Castañeda.
The RNC previously told MRC Free Speech America on Oct. 3, 2022, that Gmail suppressed more than 22 million get-out-the-vote and fundraising emails just in the last three days of September alone.
There is still a pending GOP lawsuit on the matter in California, though The Journal said the FEC is closing its file. “Google cannot explain away how they’ve overwhelmingly and systematically diverted Republican emails to voters’ spam folders while letting Democrat emails through,” RNC spokesman Nathan Brand said.
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