Mass torts: Facebook targets birthday messages

For decades, consumers have complained about junk mail, beginning with the flyers and mailers through the post office, and now with spam emails and text messages. Fortunately, laws such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and robotexting laws regulate the amount and kinds of contact solicitors and others can make with consumers. However, these laws do not always stop some companies from accosting people in Tennessee with unwanted communications, which may lead to mass torts claims.

Facebook has dealt with numerous lawsuits in the past and is currently embroiled in new class action litigation. The recent case involves the text messages the company apparently sends to users announcing the birthdays of Facebook friends. Some of those who receive the messages feel the company sends them to increase revenue, but by using auto-dialers to contact users, Facebook may be violating the TCPA.

Those Facebook users who do not consent to receiving the birthday announcements may be forced to pay service providers for the text messages, as well as having their time and attention wasted by the arrival of the unwanted text. The methods Facebook uses to procure phone numbers for users who do not voluntarily offer them for the birthday messages may be a more serious issue. Facebook defends its practices by claiming freedom of speech, but so far, the courts have rejected that defense.

Facebook is currently dealing with at least two other mass torts claims related to the company's methods for contacting consumers. Tennessee consumers who receive unwanted text messages, emails or phone calls despite taking efforts to eliminate those communications may be victims of violations of their rights. For advice on how best to deal with such issues, they may contact an attorney who is dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers.

Source: mediapost.com, "Facebook Hit With New Suit Over Birthday Texts", Wendy Davis, Oct. 10, 2017

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