Google’s Gmail, the most popular desktop email client in the world, disproportionately filters emails from conservatives to the “spam” folder where they are much less likely to be read, according to a recent study from North Carolina State University’s Department of Computer Science.
The paper, which can be read in full here, is titled A Peek into the Political Biases in Email Spam Filtering Algorithms During US Election 2020.
The study period covered five months from July to the end of November 2020 — the height of that year’s campaigning season for the presidential election. The researchers used over one hundred email addresses to subscribe to the email notification lists of the two presidential candidates, over seventy Senate candidates, and over a hundred and fifty house candidates.
The paper found a moderate bias toward the right in Outlook and Yahoo, and a large bias towardss the left in Gmail. According to the study, the Masters of the Universe at Google marked 59.3 percent more emails from conservative candidates as spam. Microsoft’s Outlook and Yahoo mail demonstrated a much smaller bias in favor of conservative candidates.
From the paper:
All SFAs exhibited political biases in the months leading up to the 2020 US elections. Gmail leaned towards the left (Democrats) whereas Outlook and Yahoo leaned towards the right (Republicans). Gmail marked 59.3% more emails from the right candidates as spam compared to the left candidates, whereas Outlook and Yahoo marked 20.4% and 14.2% more emails from left candidates as spam compared to the right candidates, respectively.
Google’s interference in politics and elections has been well-documented. Four years ago, Breitbart News released leaked footage of the company leadership’s emotional reaction to the election of Donald Trump in 2016, and promising to overhaul Google’s features in response.
Further leaks from the company found it directly intervenes in search results for political topics on Google-owned YouTube, pushing results from left-wing and corporate media to the top.
by Allum Bokhari
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