In 2022, Republicans seized on an academic study finding that Google’s filtering algorithms demonstrated a bias against conservative candidates, reigniting claims that the tech giant’s technology tips the electoral scales toward liberals by targeting voices on the right. Tech companies have long disputed the allegations.
The study also found that rival email services Outlook and Yahoo demonstrated a less pronounced political bias against liberals, and its authors told The Washington Post that GOP leaders had taken their findings out of context.
Republican officials publicly and privately blasted Google over the findings, arguing that it could hurt their efforts to fundraise over email and the party’s election chances overall.
But in October, the political committee filed a lawsuit against Google accusing the tech giant of “discriminating” by “throttling its email messages” over its political views. In January, Google discontinued the program as it continued to fight the RNC’s lawsuit in court.
“The RNC is wrong,” Google wrote in a motion at the time. “Gmail’s spam filtering policies apply equally to emails from all senders, whether they are politically affiliated or not.”
The judge granted the RNC a chance to amend the lawsuit in part to establish a claim that the company had acted with a “lack of good faith.” The committee said it plans to refile an amended complaint.
“This case is not over,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, adding that the lawsuit “represents a crucial action against Big Tech’s anti-conservative bias.”
“We welcome the Court’s finding that there are no plausible allegations that Gmail’s spam filters discriminate for political purposes,” Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement. “We will continue investing in spam-filtering technologies that protect people from unwanted emails while still allowing senders to reach the inboxes of users who want their messages.”
The FEC dismissed a separate complaint brought by Republican campaign groups against Google over the allegations earlier this year.