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Tulsi v. Google response

On Friday Google’s lawyers filed their response to the Gabbard Campaign’s first amended complaint. They asked for the case to be moved to the Northern District of CA as per the contractual agreement that the campaign signed. They also asked for a dismissal as they are not a government entity nor acting in place of a government entity and thus are not covered under either the 1st or the 14th amendments.

Image of a courthouse.

I pulled this case initially because it looked like there was going to be an email component to it. The first amended complaint reduced all the email content down to 1 paragraph.

117. Additionally, Gabbard has learned that email communications sent by the Campaign are classified as Spam by Google’s Gmail product at disproportionately high rates. Few Gmail users regularly check their spam folders. Many never do. Gmail’s Spam filter—which relies on secret algorithms designed and controlled entirely by Google—appear to go out of their way to silence messages from the Campaign, further hindering Tulsi’s ability to convey her message to the American people.

Google’s response to that paragraph was pretty straightforward.

D. Plaintiff’s Allegations Regarding Gmail Spam Filtering
The only other allegations Plaintiff offers about Google’s actions in regard to the campaign is the passing suggestion that “[Ms.] Gabbard has learned that email communications sent by [Plaintiff] are classified as Spam by Google’s Gmail product at disproportionately high rates.” FAC ¶ 117. This allegation is unadorned and unexplained. The FAC does not explain what “disproportionally high rates” is supposed to mean, what comparisons were done with other political campaigns or advertisers, or what basis Ms. Gabbard has for alleging this supposedly disproportionate spam classification.2

2 “Spam” is defined generally as unsolicited bulk email messages. Google maintains detailed Sender Guidelines that explain how to avoid having emails classified as “spam.” See White Decl., Exhibit 3 [pdf link]. Plaintiff does not allege whether any of the emails that Google’s system allegedly classified as “spam” were, in fact, “spam” under Google’s policies. 

At this point, there’s no reason for an email blog to follow this case. Email is a single, unsubstantiated paragraph alleging delivery problems and Google’s response is to point out their publicly available sender guidelines page. Nothing to see here.

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