FEC says Google can let political campaigns dodge Gmail’s spam filters

The Federal Electoral Commission has approved a proposal that could make it easier for political campaigns to bypass e-mail spam filters. The commissioners voted 4-1 to approve a Gmail pilot and agreed with Google that the program would not violate election rules reports.

In June, Google, which would allow emails from “authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC” to bypass spam filters — as long as they didn’t break Gmail’s rules for illegal content, malware and phishing violated. The FEC opened the proposal for comment and how notes almost all feedback from the public . The Democratic National Committee, for one, claimed the program would benefit Republicans and expose Gmail users to “abusive fundraising tactics.”

At the FEC, Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub expressed concern that the program would only be available to political committees. “That rings all sorts of alarm bells for me, because that sounds like the classic definition of an in-kind contribution,” she said.

Currently, campaign emails often skip Gmail inbox precisely because many other users mark them as spam. If Google decides to move forward with the project, users will be notified the first time they receive an email from a participating campaign. You can opt-out of receiving these emails and you always have the option to manually mark them as spam.

Google launched the pilot program after pressure from Republicans who accused the company of censoring donation emails. A study published earlier this year found that Gmail was significantly more likely to mark GOP emails as spam during the 2020 campaign (Meanwhile, Yahoo and Outlook disproportionately marked Democratic messages as spam). Additionally, Republicans saw campaign contributions to their party from small donors fall by more than 12 percent between the first and second quarters of the year. GOP leaders introduced legislation in June that would prevent email platforms from automatically forwarding campaign messages to spam folders.

“Our goal during this pilot program is to explore alternative ways to address bulk mailer concerns while giving users clear control over their inboxes to minimize unwanted email,” said Google spokesman José Castañeda postand noted that the company “will continue to monitor feedback as the pilot rolls out to ensure it is meeting its goals.

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https://www.engadget.com/google-political-campaign-emails-spam-fec-approval-183735778.html?src=rss FEC says Google can let political campaigns dodge Gmail’s spam filters

Russell Falcon

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