ICYMI: RNC Fights Big Tech Censorship with New Lawsuit

In October, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced it would be taking Google to court over the big tech company's alleged use of spam filters to block get-out-the-vote (GOTV) and fundraising efforts:

the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against Google in federal court regarding its censorship of Republican fundraising and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) emails. For nearly a year, the RNC has tracked how Google has arbitrarily throttled the RNC’s ability to communicate with Gmail users by routing nearly 100% of RNC emails to spam during key fundraising and GOTV periods like clockwork each month. Earlier this year, the RNC filed an FEC complaint after the publication of a non-partisan study which found that Gmail, Google’s email platform, routed Republican emails to “spam” at a rate approximately 820% higher than similar Democrat emails during the 2020 Election cycle, while Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo did not. 

This chart from the RNC shows how emails sent to Gmail inboxes were directed to spam each month at key times.

Relatedly, the Media Research Center alleges Google has similar bias against Republicans in its search results:

The Media Research Center believes Google "does change its algorithm to benefit certain political candidates," and is strictly focused on the Senate after a new study proved its "search bias" didn’t carry over to House races where the GOP is already favored. 

"This is more evidence that Google deliberately manipulated data for the Senate races. Google needs to explain itself and stop trying to manipulate elections," MRC founder and president Brent Bozell told Fox News Digital. 

Earlier this week, the conservative MRC unveiled its findings that focused on 12 Senate races identified as important to watch. It revealed campaign websites for 10 Republicans among the 12 tight races were found significantly lower on results pages compared to their opponent’s sites among organic search results.

As The Hertiage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky and Jake Denton point out, the RNC's case against Google could have far reaching impacts:

This is an important case, because it raises a crucial issue that the courts, Congress, and state legislatures ought to address. When private companies dominate or virtually monopolize communications used by the public—the same way Western Union did throughout the 19th century—are they prohibited from engaging in discrimination and in selective censorship and filtering in accordance with the political views, opinions, and interests of the directors of those companies? Or should they be treated like other private entities over whom the government has no regulatory authority?

Google has abused its email and internet-browsing dominance to control speech online. Regardless of the outcome of this case, the tech giant ought to be far more transparent with the American people over how it moderates and censors content. The country would never accept a telecommunications firm blocking phone calls, or the Postal Service redirecting political mail. The law should provide the same respect and protection for private email communications.

Tomorrow marks the end of the 2022 election cycle, but it is crucial this issue is addressed head on as we head into the 2024 presidential election:

Political campaigns and political parties have become increasingly reliant on email services, such as Gmail. While the midterm elections will soon be over, the 2024 presidential election cycle will start shortly thereafter, and the decision in this case could have a serious impact on both the conduct and the outcome of the next presidential election.  

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