The case was brought by a Florida man who claims that Facebook broke a federal when they sent him unauthorized messages about his Facebook friends birthday. In total the man is seeking up to a $1,500 per message on behalf of himself and the other named users.
The proposed class action lawsuit filed by Colin Brickman last Friday, claimed Facebook birthday texts was in direct violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which inherently limits the telemarketing and automatic dialing systems used by some companies.
According to the class action lawsuit, Brickman claims that Facebook was never given his permission to send texts to his cell phone, however he still received:
“Today is Jim Stewart’s birthday. Reply to post a wish on his Timeline or reply with 1 to post ‘Happy Birthday!’”
Brickman also made claim that such birthday messages, which Facebook sends to users that have given out their phone number, is a form of marketing only permitted when a user expressly gives a written consent
“Facebook sent bulk and impersonal text messages by an autodialer to cell phones like Plaintiff’s, using standard response prompts. Every prompt solicits the receiver to engage on Facebook. This lawsuit is for the thousands of persons who did NOT give Facebook prior express consent,” say the complaint.
Unfortunately, a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the issue.
For Facebook, if they cannot prove they had permission to send messages, the social media giant could be facing millions in damages. Under the current telemarketing law, a consumer can seek $500 per violation or up to $1,500 if they can prove there was a willful intent.
Facebook is not the first company whose good intentions with text messages have violated the telemarketing law. Last year, Western Union paid out nearly $8.5 million in damages for a class action lawsuit over text messages. Transportation company Uber and search engine Yahoo are both facing similar lawsuit right now in court.
The Federal Communications Commission has been cracking down on text-based marketing now that we’ve moved into the digital marketing age. They even posted a notice about text marketing last year to remind consumers that unauthorized texts are illegal under federal law.
So what do you think about this lawsuit?
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