The Supreme Court will hear Facebook's bid to stop a class-action lawsuit that could cost the company billions

The Supreme Court will hear Facebook's bid to stop a class-action lawsuit that could cost the company billions
At the center of the Supreme Court case is a 1991 robocall law, which Facebook says it didn't violate by sending a text message to someone without a Facebook account.Associated Press
  • The Supreme Court has agreed to consider a bid from Facebook to challenge a class-action lawsuit against the company over Facebook's handling of automatic text messages.
  • Facebook was sued by a man who received text message notifications from the platform despite never having a Facebook account, violating an anti-robocall law. Facebook argues that they were sent by mistake.
  • Facebook claimed it didn't violate the anti-robocall law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, and has asked the Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court decision.
  • If the Supreme Court upholds the lower court's interpretation, it could cost Facebook billions of dollars.

The Supreme Court has decided to review a class-action lawsuit against Facebook over automated text message notifications sent by the social media platform, Bloomberg first reported.

Facebook faces a class action lawsuit filed by a man who says he received automated text messages from Facebook, despite never having a Facebook account, and accuses the social media giant of violating a federal law against robocalls.

Facebook has said the messages were sent by mistake because the man's cell phone number was recycled and previously belonged to another user.

As part of its defense, Facebook argues that a federal appeals court that allowed the lawsuit to go forward misinterpreted the law against robocalls and petitioned the Supreme Court to review that court's decision.

"Billions of dollars are at stake in putative class actions seeking $1,500-per-call statutory penalties. The lower courts are hopelessly fractured, and certiorari is warranted," Facebook said in its petition to the Supreme Court.


The law in question is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a 1991 measure that made it illegal for companies to use an autodialer to contact people without permission and imposes a $1,500 fine per violation.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed the class action suit against Facebook to proceed based on an interpretation of "autodialer" to include services like Facebook's text message alerts, which are automatically sent in response to triggers like a suspicious login to someone's account. Facebook argues that "autodialers" should be defined more narrowly as systems that randomly call or text any phone number.