A federal judge tossed a Republican National Committee lawsuit that alleged Google buried fundraising emails.
In a major loss for free speech, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Calabretta dismissed an RNC lawsuit seeking to hold Google accountable for what Republicans described as email suppression. The RNC alleged that Google's Gmail intentionally sent 20 million Republican campaign emails to spam over the course of 6 days. However, Calabretta, a Biden appointee, claimed on August 24 that Section 230 shielded Google from the lawsuit. You read that correctly. The judge ruled that, “[w]hile is a close case,” the RNC failed to show “Google acted in bad faith” in suppressing emails, “and that doing so was protected by section 230,” according to standards set forth in a previous Supreme Court case.
Specifically, Calabretta claimed:
“While it is a close case, the Court concludes that under the pleading standards set forth in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the RNC has not sufficiently pled that Google acted in bad faith in filtering the RNC’s messages into Gmail users’ spam folders, and that doing so was protected by section 230. On the merits, the Court concludes that each of the RNC’s claims fail as a matter of law for the reasons described below."
In October 2022, the RNC filed a lawsuit against Google, citing a study that found that the Big Tech giant’s algorithms buried GOP emails in an apparent attempt to thwart the political party’s fundraiser emails. At the time, the RNC argued that Google pushed “millions of RNC emails en masse to potential donors’ and supporters’ spam folders during pivotal points in election fundraising and community building.”
Google maintained its innocence through the lawsuit. “The RNC is wrong,” Google claimed in a filing, reported by The Washington Post on August 24. “Gmail’s spam filtering policies apply equally to emails from all senders, whether they are politically affiliated or not.” The judge agreed, going as far as demanding that the RNC fix the suit to demonstrate — despite the growing evidence showing otherwise — that Google acted with a “lack of good faith.”
“This case is not over,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in reaction to the lawsuit. “The judge has given us leave to amend and re-file our complaint. This suit represents a crucial action against Big Tech’s anti-conservative bias. We look forward to filing our amended complaint and continuing this fight.”
Time and again, Google has been exposed for its apparent manipulation of algorithms to punish those who are critical of the company. Most recently, MRC Free Speech America released a study showing that Google hid the presidential campaigns of Republican candidates. The study found that Google first highlighted the campaign websites of President Joe Biden and Democrat candidate Marianne Williamson, in second and fifth place respectively. Google went as far as promoting the defunct websites of past failed candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
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