US Supreme Court backs Facebook in text message alert dispute

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The Supreme Court of the US has sided with Facebook in a case over its text message alerts, saying that these notifications do not go against rules barring unwanted auto-dialed calls.

The court’s ruling, which came on Thursday, said that a lower court defined illegal “robocalls” too broadly, The Verge reported.

The case revolved around text messages that Facebook sends to users about an attempted login.

The ruling explained that the term “robocalls” should not apply to a system that simply stores numbers and automatically calls them, said the report.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) proscribes abusive telemarketing practices by, among other things, imposing restrictions on making calls with an “automatic telephone dialing system.”

The Supreme Court said that the rules should only apply to systems that generate lists of numbers and make calls indiscriminately.

The case was brought by Noah Duguid who said he got notifications from Facebook despite not having an account with the social networking platform.

While an appeals court agreed with Duguid’s argument that Facebook was violating the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Supreme Court in its unanimous ruling authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a different interpretation of the law.

“Difficult ambiguities in statutory text will inevitably arise, despite the best efforts of legislators writing in ‘English prose,'” Sotomayor wrote.

“Courts should approach these interpretive problems methodically, using traditional tools of statutory interpretation, in order to confirm their assumptions about the ‘common understanding’ of words.”

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