Google Gives In To Republican Political Spammers: Launching Pilot Program To Whitelist Them Out Of Spam

from the spam-spam-spam-spam dept

What a dumb news cycle. As we noted, mainly driven by the preferred political spam mongers for Republicans, a study from some computer scientists was completely misrepresented to argue (falsely) that Google was deliberately censoring Republican politician emails. As we’ve repeatedly noted, the study actually found that while a clean Gmail account would flag more Republican emails as spam than Democrats, (1) the reverse was true of the two other most popular web-based email providers, Yahoo and Outlook, and (2) the researchers found that if someone actively manages their spam flags, that this discrepancy disappears in Gmail.

But, Republicans and their favorite spammer can’t let facts or accuracy get in the way of a moral panic. So they got Fox News to spin it into a bullshit, inaccurate story about Google censoring conservatives, then got some Republicans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission arguing that this was an unfair advantage that Google was giving Democrats. Finally, they got an incredibly stupid bill introduced in both the House and the Senate to basically say that email providers can no longer mark political emails as spam.

Apparently, this stupid misleading culture war, that anyone with even the slightest understanding of how spam filters work could have debunked for anyone, was apparently gaining steam. And in this ridiculous world we live in, once “the narrative” takes over, facts and any sense of reality go right out the window.

So, just after Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited Capitol Hill, where he was apparently yelled at by a bunch of Republicans, Google has announced a “pilot program” to whitelist candidate emails. The program is not live yet, but Google has first asked the FEC for the greenlight, to make sure that this program doesn’t run afoul of any election laws.

Google’s pilot program, per the June 21 filing, would be for “authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC.”

  • It would make campaign emails from such groups exempt from spam detection as long as they don’t violate Gmail’s policies around phishing, malware or illegal content.
  • Instead, when users would receive an email from a campaign for the first time, they would get a “prominent” notification asking if they want to keep receiving them, and would still have the ability to opt out of subsequent emails.

Basically, because a bunch of Republicans (1) are bad at political emails, (2) can’t take any personal responsibility at all, (3) love any kind of moral panic about big tech not liking them… we all now will have to deal with more political spam in our inboxes.

What a stupid world.

Filed Under: elections, email, filtering, politics, spam

Companies: google