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Supreme Court provides clarity on TCPA with important holding in FB case

| Apr 6, 2021 | Marketing Law

Facebook recently found itself headed to the Supreme Court to defend one of the functions used by the site. The case questioned Facebook’s ability to notify users if someone attempts to log into their account from a new device or browser. Noah Duguid, who filed the case against the social media super giant, received such messages, but states he never set up a Facebook (FB) account. FB representatives speculate that Duguid’s cellphone provider likely assigned him to a telephone number previously associated with an account.

How did the case progress?

Duguid requested FB stop sending the messages but claims they did not. After these attempts, he moved forward with a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit states FB’s use of these messages was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

What did the Supreme Court decide?

The Supreme Court decided, unanimously, that the statute only covers devices that can store or dial using a random or sequential number generator and tossed out the lawsuit. Legal professionals and business leaders throughout the country are rejoicing, as the holding falls in line with Congressional intent when the statute was drafted and helps to rein in some courts that were adopting a much more expansive view of the law.

What does this mean for businesses throughout the country?

Although this holding likely expands businesses’ ability to reach out to customers without having their express consent, it is important to note that an abusive of this privilege could result in additional Congressional action. Just as lawmakers originally drafted the TCPA to curtail abuses in 1991, it could draft a new version in the future.