Twitter, facing a California suit from a plaintiff who claims she never opened a Twitter account or consented to receive text messages from the micro-blogging site. Despite that, she says she received multiple “impersonal, promotional text messages” from Twitter right after she bought a new cellphone, up to six messages per day.
Massachusetts resident Beverly Nunes alleged that Twitter caused actual harm to consumers by failing to check its contact list for “recycled numbers,” which are cellular telephone numbers that have been deactivated by a user and then reassigned to a new subscriber.
“Twitter knows, or is reckless in not knowing, that its SMS text messages are sent to non-consenting, recycled cellular number subscribers,” in violation of the TCPA, according to the complaint. “Twitter is responsible for verifying cellular telephone number ownership and obtaining consent before sending automated text messages to cellular telephone subscribers.”
The complaint referenced the Mobile Marketing Association’s guidelines, which recommend, as a best practice, that mobile marketers have a system in place for managing deactivation and recycled number information, as consent from a prior owner does not transfer to the new recycled cellular number’s owner.
Twitter has little incentive to follow the guidelines, Nunes claimed, because the company is paid based on the volume of activity of people using its platform: the more SMS messages sent by Twitter – authorized or not – the more people who may participate in the site and engage in its advertisements, generating more income for Twitter.
Seeking statutory damages and costs, the complaint also alleged that Twitter ignored recipients’ attempts to halt the messages when they replied with a “STOP” request.
To read the complaint in Nunes v. Twitter, click here.
Why it matters: Yahoo faced a similar suit that was dismissed earlier this year when the court found the company did not use an automated telephone dialing system as required by the statute, a decision currently on appeal.