Supreme Court Sides With Facebook Over Unwanted Automated Texts
The court ruling could open door for a flood of unwanted robocalls and texts on consumers' cell phones
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled (PDF) in favor of Facebook in a dispute over whether unwanted text notifications sent by the social media giant violated a 30-year-old federal law designed to protect consumers from abusive telemarketing practices.
Facebook had argued that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 was never intended to stop automated calls and texts from being sent unless the phone numbers were either chosen randomly or were sent in numerical sequence. Facebook says the ruling will allow it to continue sending targeted security notifications to protect user accounts.
But consumer advocates say the case is about more than security notifications. They argue that if robocallers are not covered under the law, there would be nothing to stop them from sending out a potentially unlimited stream of automated recorded calls and texts to consumers’ cell phones.
George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, which joined in an amicus brief in the case, says that in winning the case, Facebook has “succeeded in punching a huge loophole in the law’s core protection.”
Slover says it’s now up to Congress to quickly update the law, “or consumers will be vulnerable to their phones being tied up by a potentially constant flood of robocalls and texts, with no way to stop it.”