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STUDY: Gmail Favors Left-Leaning Candidates, Discards More Conservative Emails as Junk

A study from North Carolina State University’s Department of Computer Science shows Google’s Gmail service favors liberal politicians by discarding conservative emails as “spam.”

The report, titled “A Peek into the Political Biases in Email Spam Filtering Algorithms During US Election 2020,” found approximately 10% of emails from “left wing candidates” were marked as junk.

That figure rose to 77% for Republicans.

According to the report:

“To accurately estimate the political biases and mitigate any potential effects of demographics (ethnicity, age, and gender), we created multiple email accounts with different combinations of demographic factors and designed two experiments. The first experiment studies the general trends of biases in SFAs across the email services for the Presidential, Senate and House candidates. The second experiment studies the impact of different email interactions such as reading the emails, marking them as spam, or vice versa on the biases in SFAs. We designed an automated process to perform all the subscriptions, and took periodic backups to keep all the email accounts active as well as to keep track of the correct number of spam emails received over the course of data collection for each of the three services.”

The study “further observed that the percentage of emails marked by Gmail as spam from the right-wing candidates grew steadily as the election date approached while the percentage of emails marked as spam from the left-wing candidates remained about the same.”

Read the full report here.

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