After getting alerts about alleged access to his account even though he never had one, a man in the United States filed a complaint against Facebook.
The Supreme Court sided with Facebook in a case over unwelcome text alerts it sent out on Thursday, dismissing claims that the texts violated the federal robocall ban. The high court unanimously decided in favor of the Menlo Park, California-based social media behemoth. The court, according to Democratic politicians and advocacy advocates, has opened a gaping hole in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, exposing anyone with a cellphone to countless spam calls and texts.
A man filed the complaint after receiving text messages from Facebook telling him that someone had tried to log into his account using a different computer or browser. Noah Duguid, the guy, said that he never had a Facebook account and that he never gave Facebook his phone number. He filed a class-action case after he was unable to block the updates.
Abuse telemarketing activities were prohibited under the Consumer Protection Act of 1991. The legislation forbids using an “automated telephone dialing machine,” which is a device that can “store or generate telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator,” and then dial the number.
The court has to decide whether the statute applies to equipment that can store and dial telephone numbers without using a random or sequential number generator.
It may not write Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the court.
“As the Court noted, the law’s requirements were never meant to bar businesses from issuing targeted security alerts, and the court’s decision would enable companies to continue working to keep their users’ accounts safe,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in an emailed statement.
However, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, said in a joint statement that the court disregarded Congress’ intent when it passed the legislation, allowing “companies to bombard the public with a nonstop wave of unwelcome calls and emails, around the clock.”
Legislators have stated that they would propose legislation to specifically ban Facebook’s practice.
“The Justices can only have themselves to blame if their private cellphones ring nonstop from now before our legislation becomes law,” Markey and Eshoo said.
Since Duguid has not alleged that Facebook was delivering messages that were automatically generated, Facebook argued that the case should be dismissed. Facebook claims to deliver personalized messages to phone numbers associated with specific accounts. A district court decision, but the verdict was overturned by an appeals court.
Duguid’s telephone number could have already belonged to a Facebook customer who had chosen to accept login updates, according to Facebook.
Facebook v Duguid, 19-511, is the case.