Google accused of sending SPAM to European users disguised as legitimate messages

Google abused its dominant position by sending Gmail users messages disguised as legitimate communications, according to charges filed at the European Court of Justice by a non-profit organisation called Noyb (None Of Your Business). In reality, these would have been SPAM messages that got past the Gmail filters that were supposed to block them before they reached the Inbox

Messages disguised in this way to disguise an advertising purpose would have violated another European court ruling, which expressly stated that such a direct marketing-based format can only be used after obtaining the express consent of the intended audience. Thus, messages that do not meet these criteria, regardless of who the sender is, should be classified as unsolicited messages and go straight to the SPAM folder of the Gmail client.

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Contacted for an official position, Google has not commented on the matter, as yet. What is certain is that although Gmail has a SPAM folder, how it does (or doesn’t) catch unsolicited messages has long been a subject of controversy. Recently, Google confirmed that it will exempt messages on political topics (at least in the US) from anti-SPAM filtering, and they will end up in the main Inbox, whatever users choose.

“It’s pretty simple. Spam is commercial email sent without consent. And it’s illegal. Spam does not become legal just because it is generated by the email provider,” said Noyb lawyer Romain Robert in a press release.

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Advertising remains Google’s main revenue generator. Alphabet, the corporation behind Google, missed its anticipated revenue estimates at $70 billion last quarter, but still brought in reported revenue of $69.7 billion. Of that, advertising accounted for $56.3 billion of total revenue.

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