April 1, 2021 •
US Supreme Court: Facebook Did Not Violate TCPA
On April 1, the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided automatic text messages sent to telephone numbers culled from a database of a sender, in this case from Facebook, and not from a system having the capacity either to store or to produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator, is not prohibited under The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).
While this decision does not apply to robocalls, it does seem to permit those in political campaigns to allow voice calls and text messages, taken from their databases, to be automatically made from technology not using a random or sequential number generator without fear of violating the TCPA.
In Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, Noah Duguid, who had never created a Facebook account, continually received text messages from Facebook. Duguid alleged that Facebook violated the TCPA by maintaining a database storing phone numbers and sending automated text messages from that database. In a 9-0 decision, the court agreed with Facebook’s technical argument that the TCPA does not apply because the technology it used to text Duguid did not use a “random or sequential number generator.”
The TCPA was enacted to prevent the abuse of telemarketing made with an “automatic telephone dialing system” and other troublesome tactics.
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