House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and other top Republicans proposed legislation on Tuesday that would combat Google and other big tech companies’ censorship of conservative campaign emails.
Leader McCarthy, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Republican Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) proposed the Political BIAS Emails Act to end big tech companies, especially Google’s, use of biased algorithms that filter political emails. The legislation would also increase transparency on filtering practices by requiring email service operators to produce transparency reports.
McCarthy said in a statement on Tuesday that Republicans are showing that they can fight back against big tech’s censorship of political speech:
Today’s Big Tech behemoths were once the gold standard of entrepreneurism and innovation, and offered space for the First Amendment to live freely. But over the years, these platforms abandoned these First Amendment principles and have instead chosen to use their immense power to pick a side in our country’s political discourse.
Researchers from North Carolina State University recently found that nearly 70 percent of emails from candidates registered with the Republican Party were sent to spam email boxes by Google, compared to less than one in ten from Democrat candidates from 2019 to 2020. Given Gmail holds over 50 percent of the email market in the U.S., about 130.9 million Americans are impacted by Google’s attempt to silence Republicans.
With this bill, Republicans are fighting back against Big Tech’s discriminatory infiltration into our political discourse, and will continue to take on Big Tech whenever and wherever they silence political speech.
Big Tech companies have decided they are the arbiters of truth. Big Tech companies should not be interfering with our free and fair elections and silencing political discourse. I am proud to introduce this legislation to hold Big Tech companies accountable if they attempt to insert themselves in the political process and suppress political content.
Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC); Drew Ferguson (R-GA), the Republican chief deputy whip; and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) cosponsored the bill.
The Republican leaders proposed the legislation after a recent study by the North Carolina State University’s Department of Computer Science found that Google’s Gmail, the most popular desktop email client, disproportionately filters emails from conservatives to the “spam folder.”
Breitbart News’s Allum Bokhari explained:
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.
“Given Gmail holds over 50 percent of the email market in the U.S., about 130.9 million Americans are impacted by Google’s attempt to silence Republicans,” a release from Lesko’s office noted.
Bokhari documented how Google wanted to overhaul its features in reaction to the election of Donald Trump in 2016. He also detailed how Google directly intervenes in the search results of Google-owned YouTube, which boosted results from left-wing and corporate media.
The Political BIAS Emails Act would, according to a release from McCarthy’s office, seek to alleviate this censorship:
- “Prohibit large emails platforms like Google’s Gmail from using filtering algorithms on emails sent from a political campaign unless the owner or user of the email account took action to apply a label such as spam”
- Require large email platforms to produce quarterly transparency reports noting several items including the number of instances in which emails from political campaigns — both Republican and Democrat — were flagged as spam.
- Allow political campaigns to request a report on information specific to the individual campaign including the total number of emails that reached the intended recipient’s primary inbox.
- Require large email platforms to provide political campaigns best practices on steps the campaign can take to increase the number of emails reaching a recipient’s primary inbox.”
“A level playing field is essential to our system of elections, and many conservatives are frustrated with technology companies consistently putting our candidates and our message at a competitive disadvantage,” Emmer said. “The NCSU Study and multiple campaign testimonials shed light on these biases, and I appreciate Congresswoman Lesko’s work to bring fairness and transparency to the way e-mail platforms treat messages from political campaigns.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.