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Court Finds Twitter Violated TCPA in Federal Lawsuit

Twitter, the social media giant that allows users to send 140-character messages or “tweets,” has been losing ground in a class action lawsuit by plaintiffs who say the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Twitter was sued by Beverly Nunes, a person who does not use Twitter. She alleges in her complaint that when she received a new phone number, the number’s previous owner had been a Twitter user. That user had signed up to receive tweets from friends as text messages to the phone, and Nunes was inundated with texts that she did not want.

Nunes filed a class action lawsuit in a California federal court alleging violations of the TCPA. She claimed that the company was responsible for the texted tweets to recycled phone numbers, even if the company did not know that the number’s owner had changed.

Nunes claimed that she tried responding to some of the texts to get them to stop, but was unsuccessful. She was unable to find a way to stop the texts from coming to her phone.

Under the TCPA, companies are prohibited from sending automated text messages to consumers without express permission or consent. They are also required to stop sending text messages to users who later take actions to “opt out” of the messaging services.

As part of the case, both sides recently filed for summary judgment. The California judge denied Twitter’s motion for summary judgment, and found that the company was the entity responsible for sending the texts. Only the actual sender of the texts is the person making the “call” under the TCPA. Even though other individual users create and send the tweets, Twitter takes that tweet, converts it to a text message, and delivers it a particular phone number. For that reason, Twitter could be held liable under the TCPA.

The federal court has not yet decided whether or not Twitter will ultimately be liable for violating the TCPA. From this point, the case will either proceed to trial or will settle out of court.

Twitter may decide to settle the lawsuit because of the potential for liability involved. Each violation of the TCPA can carry a penalty of up to $1,500 with treble damages, and Twitter users are known for being prolific. Unwanted tweets could number into the hundreds or thousands for just one phone number. Without a mechanism for quickly and easily making these text messages stop, Twitter could be responsible for paying steep damages.

If you have been harassed by unwanted text messages, you too may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages under the TCPA. At Loan Lawyers, our attorneys will review your claims for free and make sure that you understand your legal rights and options.

For a no-risk, no-cost consultation, contact one of our South Florida consumer defense attorneys today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).