Duguid v. Facebook (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. 3:15-cv-00985-JSC)

On behalf of Noah Duguid, Lemberg Law filed a class action complaint against Facebook, Inc., alleging that the social media behemoth violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by negligently, knowingly, and willfully sending unwanted text messages to consumers’ cell phones using an automated telephone dialing system.

The complaint alleges that, beginning in January 2014, Facebook repeatedly sent text messages to Mr. Duguid. The messages were variations of, “Your Facebook account was accessed from an unknown browser at 2:16 p.m. Log in for more info.”

In April, Mr. Duguid sent Facebook a detailed email complaining about the spam texts and asking the company to stop sending them. Facebook sent a canned response, which told him to long onto Facebook to report problematic content. He wrote back, reiterating the spam text problem and noting, “A human needs to read this email and take action.” He continued to receive an automated reply.

Bloggers have noted that people can text “off” in response to Facebook’s messages in order to get them to stop. In October, Mr. Duguid tried that, and got a text message back that said, “Facebook texts are now off. Reply on to turn them back on.”

The class action lawsuit seeks to represent two groups of consumers. The first class consists of those who didn’t provide Facebook with their cell phone number and who received text messages from Facebook between March 3, 2011 and March 3, 2015. The second class consists of those who, between March 3, 2011 and March 3, 2015, notified Facebook that they no longer wanted to receive text messages, and received a confirmation from Facebook, but still received a text message from the company.

Spam text messages are all-too-common. In April 2012, the Pew Research Center found that 69% of texters reported receiving unwanted spam text messages, while 25% reported receiving spam texts weekly.

Update: Judge granted Facebook’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.