US Supreme Court bars suit against Facebook under anti-robocall law

Andrew Chung and Lawrence Hurley, Reuters

Posted at Apr 01 2021 11:04 PM

WASHINGTON - The US Supreme Court on Thursday barred a proposed class action lawsuit accusing Facebook Inc of violating a federal anti-robocall law, sparing the social media company from a potentially costly fight over unwanted text messages.

The justices, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, sided with Facebook in its appeal of a lower court ruling that revived the lawsuit alleging that the text messages violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law that sought to curb telemarketing abuse by banning most unauthorized robocalls.

The court ruled that Facebook's actions - sending text messages without consent - did not fit within the definition of the type of conduct barred by the law, which was enacted before the rise of modern cellphone technology.

The case highlighted the challenge for the justices in applying outdated laws to modern-era technologies.

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 in California federal court by Montana resident Noah Duguid, who said Facebook sent him many automatic text messages without his consent. The lawsuit accused Menlo Park, California-based Facebook of violating the TCPA's restriction on using an automatic telephone dialing system. 

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