Meta Prevails In Robotexting Battle Over Birthday Messages

Siding with Meta Platforms, a federal appellate court on Wednesday refused to revive a lawsuit accusing the company of violating a federal robotexting law by sending unwanted messages.

The decision, issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, comes in a dispute dating to 2016, when Florida resident Colin Brickman alleged that Meta violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending him text messages about his friends' birthdays.

That law, passed in 1991, prohibits companies from using autodialers to text people without their consent.

Meta argued the lawsuit should be dismissed for several reasons, including that its text-sending system isn't an “autodialer,” because it doesn't randomly generate the numbers that are dialed.

The company made a similar argument in a separate robotexting lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court last year. That court unanimously sided with Meta in the matter, ruling that an autodialer had to be capable of using a random or sequential number generator to store or produce the numbers that were called.

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Brickman contended that his lawsuit should proceed anyway, arguing that his allegations regarding Meta's texting equipment differed from the allegations in the case decided by the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick in the Northern District of California sided with Meta last year and dismissed Brickman's complaint.

Brickman then appealed to the 9th Circuit, which upheld Orrick's order.

The panel wrote that Meta didn't violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because the company didn't use a texting-system “that randomly or sequentially generated the telephone numbers in question.”

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