Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is facing a lawsuit from cellphone users who claim it is illegally spamming with text message ads from the social network. The $5 million lawsuit is regarding spam text messages. The complaint said that Twitter did not take sufficient steps to stop ending messages to recycled phone numbers. The dispute is based on “short code” technology, which lets companies send automated messages.
Twitter uses the “40404” short code to send marketing texts. The same code is used by Twitter to notify its users regarding their Twitter account activities. Beverly Nunes of Taunton, Massachusetts filed the lawsuit and wants to bring it to class action for other consumers who are in the same position.
Nunes said that she purchased a new phone in November 2013 and started getting unsolicited texts every day from the short code 40404. Nunes claimed that she never opened a Twitter account and she should have never received any SMS from Twitter.
The lawsuit also cites other users who are flooded with unwanted messages from Twitter. Nunes tried to stop getting the messages by replying “STOP” or “UNSUBSCRIBE” to 40404, but continued to receive messages from Twitter.
Twitter sends text messages via SMS to recycled phone numbers, according to the lawsuit. The previous owners of those phone numbers may have opted to receive messages from Twitter. The lawsuit is seeking $5 million claiming that Twitter disregarded industry policies to disconnected phone numbers so that they can send text messages.
“Twitter knows, or is reckless in not knowing, that its SMS text messages are sent to non-consenting, recycled cellular number subscribers,” states the documents filed by Nunes. “Twitter has caused consumers actual harm, including the aggravation and privacy invasion that accompanies receiving unsolicited text messages. Consumers are damaged by having to pay cellular telephone service providers for the receipt of Twitter’s unsolicited text messages.”
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a law written in 1991, requires a company to pay $500 for each unsolicited telephone call. The complaint indicates that the same law also applies to text messages and Twitter should pay $500 for each text it sent without the consent of a telephone number’s owner.
Twitter said that the lawsuit does not have any merit and the company will “vigorously defend” itself.