“Today is [Facebook friend’s] birthday. Reply to post a wish on her Timeline or reply with 1 to post ‘Happy Birthday!’” Facebook, Inc. (Facebook) faces a class action in California federal court for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending its users unsolicited, automated text messages to remind the users of their friends’ birthdays. Lead plaintiff, Colin R. Brickman, alleges in his complaint that users who have clearly indicated in their Facebook account settings that they do not consent to receive text messages are still getting text messages from the social media giant. “Despite plaintiff’s express lack of consent, Facebook sent birthday announcement texts to plaintiff’s phone in violation of [the TCPA]…which protects the privacy rights of individuals to be free from receiving unwanted text message spam on their cellular phones.”
Brickman believes that the text messages are being sent to drive interaction on the social media website by its users and in turn generate more advertising revenue for Facebook. Brickman further states that this is what makes these text messages ‘telemarketing messages’ and therefore a violation of the TCPA. The suit seeks $500 per violation in statutory damages. We will follow this to see if the court deems the ‘happy birthday’ messages as a sneaky telemarketing ploy.