As if you don’t have enough spam, Google has been given the green light to give you even more. This month, the Federal Elections Commission gave the company the right to send those annoying pleas for campaign contributions directly to your Gmail inbox, circumventing the spam filter altogether.
The effort to clog your inbox with endless all-caps cries to separate you from your money was the culmination of a push by – you guessed it – Republicans. In their endless effort to work the refs, Republicans had long complained that anything that reined them in was totally unfair. Of course, they have been screaming about Silicon Valley doing them dirt for years – and happily fundraising off of that complaint.
The right believes that Big Tech is too liberal, or to use its favorite expression “too woke.” Of course, the platforms are neutral and turned out to be a handy tool for organizing the insurrection on January 6. What the right objects to is that the platforms, as private entities, have the right to regulate speech and deny people like Donald Trump a megaphone for their lies.
When it comes to the fundraising emails, Republicans cited a study claiming that Google unfairly diverted more Republican fundraising emails to spam than it did Democratic emails. That’s true. It’s also true that Yahoo and Microsoft sent more Democratic emails to spam than Republican emails. You won’t hear Republicans complaining about that.
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Nothing that Big Tech can do will ever satisfy the right, short of turning the servers over to the Trumpists. Should Republicans take control of the House, you can expect to see all kinds of hearings meant to browbeat Google, Facebook, and every other Silicon Valley company into submission.
“Big Tech is in the crosshairs,” Mike Howell of the right-wing Heritage Foundation told Axios. “They’re going to be subject to document requests and subpoenas and depositions.”
Meantime, Republicans will keep hammering away at Big Tech, complaining that it is censoring them. In her disastrous campaign for California governor, Caitlyn Jenner declared because she beat the Soviet team at the 1976 Olympics, she could beat Big Tech.
“Silicon Valley’s mono-culture seems to espouse the same values,” Jenner said, presumably referring to the values of the entire Soviet Union and not its track and field team.
That wasn’t a winning argument for Jenner, but as a whole, it is a winning argument for the GOP.
It’s not just because Silicon Valley is situated in the very progressive Bay Area. It’s because, for a lot of the party’s demographic and a lot of its leadership, technology is a mystery. When Google sat down with Republican senators to explain how its spam filtering system worked, the company was met with fury. Of course, most of the senators present had no interest in learning about the system and couldn’t tell the difference between an algorithm and an ashcan.
So now your inbox will become the ashcan. If you want to get off the mailing list, you will have to unsubscribe from each message individually. That’s great for Republicans, who have done an excellent job out of fleecing unsuspecting donors with bogus “platinum status” promises. For the rest of us, it’s just another message to send to the trash where it belongs.