As if things were not bad enough for Facebook, the Supreme court has agreed to hear a robocalling case concerning the social media company. As reported by The Verge Facebook will have to defend itself to the Supreme Court over alleged unwanted illegal text messages.
This comes in the midst of an advertiser boycott of the company. This is in response to Facebook's poor content moderation system.
To compound the problems, Facebook's new oversight board will not be ready until the end of the year. This new independent body was expected to help Facebook forge a new path and win back the trust of its users.
Facebook in the Supreme Court over robocalling allegations
The court is set to examine whether automated alert texts count as an “automatic telephone dialing system". This is to help establish a clearer definition of whether the company violated anti-robocalling rules.
This case stems back to 2015 when Noah Duguid sued Facebook. Duguid was receiving text messages from Facebook saying someone was trying to access his nonexistent Facebook account.
However, he could not get the company to stop sending these text messages. This led him to take action against the company claiming it was violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Facebook claim text messages were a mistake
Facebook claims that these text messages were made by accident. The company also points out that the automated system operated similar to a standard smartphone. Thus, in its eyes, made the system legal and ruling against it could make any normal phone call illegal.
However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with this logic. The body believed the text messages fit the definition of “automated, unsolicited, and unwanted”. This has led to the case coming all the way up to the supreme court.
This investigation will run alongside another Supreme Court robocalling decision. Earlier this year the court overturned a legal exception for debt collectors. Facebook also raised a similar issue however, the court will focus on defining the illegality of the messages.
If Facebook loses the case it will have to pay damages to any user receiving unwanted messages. The decision may also affect the definition of illegal calls as a whole. Given the surge in robocalls despite increasing legislation against them, this is unlikely to make much of a difference.
However, for Facebook, this could be quite a problematic few weeks. Things already look bleak for the company with advertisers haemorrhaging the company. A Supreme court case dredging up past problems is the last thing the company needs.
In any case, this is likely to be a very interesting decision. It could have wide reneging impacts on the technology industry and redefine robocalls for good. So what this space for any news as it happens.