Google To Change How Political Emails Are Delivered

( With only about seven weeks before the midterm elections in early November, Google is set to launch a new pilot program they say will prevent emails from political campaigns from directly being dumped into the spam folders of users.

Axios reported recently that the program could be implemented as early as late this week.

Google’s plan received approval from the Federal Election Commission in August. The plan could bring a more balanced approach to how all election emails are handled once they are delivered.

Conservative groups and candidates have argued that emails from Republican candidates have been automatically directed to the spam folders of users at a much higher rate than those from their Democrat counterparts.

Google will soon allow certain political action committees to register to participate in the pilot program. To do so, they must adhere to the company’s best practices and security requirements.

Axios reports that once those criteria are met, the PACs and other campaign emails wouldn’t’ be affected by the standard forms of detecting spam that Google employs. Despite this, Google will still scan all emails for malware and phishing to protect their users.

The change in approach to email handling would put the decision as to whether political messages should go into spam or not in the hands of the email user. They would have the ability to still send those emails to their spam folder, but it would have to be requested manually rather than Google automatically doing it for them.

Axios reported that users will initially be sent a banner email that will notify them of the groups that will be participating in the new Google program. They will then be asked whether they would like to unsubscribe from those lists, continue to see the messages in full or report them to be spam.

As Jose Castaneda, a spokesperson for Google, told Axios:

“We expect to begin the pilot with a small number of campaigns from both parties and will test whether these changes improve the user experience, and provide more certainty for senders during this election period. We will continue to listen and respond to feedback as the pilot progresses.

“During the pilot, users will be in control through a more prominent unsubscribe button.”

Targeted email campaigns are a major source of fundraising and overall support for political parties and specific campaigns. Because of that, it’s unlikely that either side will complain about Google’s planned pilot program, which would aim to increase the visibility of their emails.

It actually might be one of the rare instances in which both Democrats and Republicans praise a Big Tech company for taking a new initiative that will directly affect how their messaging is handled and delivered to users.

It’s even more impressive — and shocking, actually — that Google seems to be starting a new program so close to an ultra-important election that will benefit both political sides rather than leaning so heavily in favor of liberals.

That is, of course, if it works the way the company says it will.