US Supreme Court gives relief to Facebook in pesky text message dispute
The plaintiff had said that he never created a Facebook account and did not give Facebook his number
The US Supreme Court has given a major relief to Facebook in a lawsuit over pesky text notifications that the social media giant sent while dismissing the suit that the text messages violated the federal ban on robocalls.
The lawsuit was filed by a man, Noah Duguid, who alleged that he received regular text messages from Facebook notifying him that an attempt had been made to log in to his account from a new device or browser.
Duguid said he never created a Facebook account and did not give Facebook his phone number. He filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook when he continued to get the notifications.
The 1991 consumer law debars abusive telemarketing practices in the US. The law restricts calls made using an automatic telephone dialing system, a device that can store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator and then call that number.
The question before the SC was whether the law covered equipment that can store and dial telephone numbers even if the equipment did not use a random or sequential number generator, and ruled that the law did not cover that.
Facebook contended before the SC that the lawsuit should be dismissed since the complainant had not claimed that Facebook was sending messages that were randomly generated.
Facebook said that it sent targeted, individualized texts to numbers linked to specific accounts. A Trial Court agreed with Facebook while an Appeals Court reversed that decision, leading to Facebook challenging the order in the Supreme Court.
Facebook said it was possible Duguid's cellphone number previously belonged to a Facebook user who opted to receive login notifications.
"As the Court recognized, the law's provisions were never intended to prohibit companies from sending targeted security notifications and the court's decision will allow companies to continue working to keep the accounts of their users safe," Facebook said in a statement after the SC sided with it.