Lately, Google has been riddled with criticism regarding the “Gmail” spam filter. A study found that the tech giant was disproportionately flagging Republican fundraising emails as spam compared to those of Democratic lawmakers and candidates, angering GOP senators (Grand Old Party). The latter even summoned Kent Walker, Google’s legal director for a meeting to explain the reason for this disproportion.
In defense, Walker argued that there was no bias in the company’s handling of spam. However, Google is considering changing the way the spam filter works and intentionally letting political emails through. And he obtained the approval of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for this project. The idea here is to meet the needs of bulk senders.
The FEC validated the Google project
Google’s plan will allow candidates, political party committees and political action committee leaders to apply for the program that would exempt their messages from Gmail’s spam detection systems. The test won’t end until January and the emails would include a ‘highly visible notification’. Google’s proposal clearly pleased the FEC, especially the promises of impartiality, hence its green light.
The FEC has confirmed that the program does not violate current election regulations. Note that users can remove these messages, but not all at once. To be more specific, Google can’t give them the ability to rid all of the future political postings contained in the project all at once. The company will also be very attentive to feedback after the rollout of the program to ensure that the objectives are met.
Google’s program sparks controversy
Republicans are struggling to meet their online fundraising goals and are not at all convinced by Google’s program. But not only. The FEC had opened the program to public comment and the majority of responses were negative.
Separately, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) argued that Google’s proposal would be a boon to Republicans and open Gmail to abusive fundraising tactics.