Google is ending its pilot Gmail spam filtering program in the US due to ongoing threats from Republicans.
According to The Washington Post (opens in new tab)a recent lawsuit saw Google lawyers detail the plan to end the pilot program by the end of January 2023, rather than continue testing and development.
Google’s filing also asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to dismiss the case, implying that “Gmail’s spam filtering policies apply equally to emails from all senders, whether politically affiliated or not. or not.”
Political campaign filtering in Gmail
It’s been several months since Republicans first filed complaints that Google was sending its emails directly to users’ spam folders, with a paper suggesting that a whopping 67.6% of emails were flagged as spam, compared to only 8.2% of Democrats.
Google rejected the allegations, but in response, the company designed a new pilot program that allowed parties to sign up as recognized, legitimate senders. This was met with a mixed bag of responses, including concerns that Gmail users’ inboxes would be flooded with unwanted content.
Google spokesman Jose Castañeda said he had hoped the arrangement would “provide more security for senders during this election period.”
Of the more than 100 committees that signed up for the pilot program, Google made it clear to the California court that the RNC hadn’t.
“Many other politically affiliated entities chose to participate in that program, which was approved by the FEC,” the filing says. The RNC chose not to do this. Instead, it is now trying to blame Google on a theory of political bias that is both illogical and inconsistent with the facts alleged in its own complaint.
While the days of the pilot program are limited, Gmail claims that effective spam filtering remains an important part of what makes the email service so popular and successful. Tech Radar Pro asked Google to confirm whether it will continue to investigate similar programs in the future.