Google Accused of Political Bias In Spam Filtering Political Emails; New Proposal Could Change That

Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL looks to allow polling updates, merch solicitations, and frantic fundraising pleas during election season after it realized that it filtered too much spam, Bloomberg reports.

Alphabet proposed suspending Gmail spam filters on messages from political parties and candidates to "enhance user and bulk sender experience" to the Federal Election Commission.

The pilot program, likely to launch during the upcoming election cycle, will still allow Gmail users to manually unsubscribe from each unwanted email list by clicking on one thirsty form letter at a time, making it very tedious and impractical process for the users.

The FEC proposal followed a bill by Senate Republicans preventing tech companies from applying spam filters to political emails. 

Google described the proposal as an effort to provide added transparency while preserving Google's commitment to "a great experience for all of our users." Google acknowledged not filtering messages based on political affiliation.

Users expressed frustration at Google's move, even threatening to give up email.

Experts found that Google marked 70% of right-wing messages as spam, compared with about 10% of left-wing emails. Comparing emails on similar topics, experts found that Gmail still seemed to restrict Republicans more than Democrats. 

Experts say Google's software reacts to the preferences of a user base that's likely younger and less conservative than the people using Microsoft Corp MSFT Outlook and Yahoo. 

Price Action: GOOG shares closed lower by 0.27% at $2,181.62 on Friday.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Posted In: GovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsTechMediaGeneral

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