Your email inbox spam folder is one of the most important parts of your cybersecurity defense setup as well as being on the frontline to save you from annoying emails. Unfortunately, the Republican National Committee (RNC) thinks that Google has set Gmail’s defense settings too high as it keeps sending Republican campaign emails straight to spam. In fact, the RNC thinks that the problem is so serious, it is suing Gmail in a bid to overturn it. Let’s take a look at what is going on.
A report from the American news outlet, Axios has highlighted the RNC’s position in a current civil case against Google, with the Republican’s claiming that Google isn’t doing enough to prevent their campaign emails from ending up in users’ spam folders.
The uproar has been caused by a new program that Google is piloting, which is designed specifically to keep campaign emails out of spam folders. Even though the program has been approved by the Federal Election Committee, the Republicans still do not believe Google is doing enough to curb what they describe as its algorithms’ tendencies to unfairly target conservative content. According to the report, the lawsuit claims that 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.”
However, in response, Google has said that it is not targeting content based on political affiliation, saying that:
“Gmail’s spam filters reflect users’ actions. We provide training and guidelines to campaigns, we recently launched an FEC-approved pilot for political senders, and we continue to work to maximize email deliverability while minimizing unwanted spam.”
This case raises an interesting debate about the intersection of technology and politics. Technology companies are at the heart of the connections that bind our societies and, therefore, whether wilfully or not, can exert huge influence over the governance of our interactions with each other. Specifically relating to democracy, however, the situation becomes murky when actors, be they technology companies themselves or even the political parties, try to use or push this influence to suit their own ends. We will have to wait and see how this one ends up.
In other Gmail news, you should start to see an update rolling out on iOS to help you more easily navigate the Settings menu.