A Florida man filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook last week, claiming that the social media site broke a federal law by sending text messages about friends’ birthdays.
The suit, filed by Colin Brickman, claims that Facebook violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with its text messages. The law is intended to limit how telemarketers can contact consumers and help prevent auto-dialing.
Facebook sends messages like these to users who upload their phone number to the site. However, Brickman says that Facebook never obtained his permission to send him texts, and that those texts qualify “as a form of marketing that is only permitted with a user’s express written consent.”
“Facebook sent bulk and impersonal text messages by an autodialer to cell phones like Plaintiff’s, using standard response prompts. Every prompt solicits the receiver to engage on Facebook,” Brickman’s complaint reads. “This lawsuit is for the thousands of persons who did NOT give Facebook prior express consent.”
If the site can’t prove it had user permission to send these texts, it could be on the hook big time; users could seek $500 per violation, or $1,500 if they could prove the violation was willful, according to Forbes. This lawsuit also may prove more successful than most litigation against the social media giant. Western Union was forced to pay out $8.5 million during a similar suit last year, and Uber and Yahoo are currently in court facing the same issue.
While giving Facebook your phone number in the first place is a questionable decision, you could be in line for a nice payday if you did.