Last month, Twitter was dealt a setback in a case where it is accused of sending unwanted texts with “recycled” phone numbers in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The case is a putative class action titled Nunes, et al. v. Twitter Inc., No. 3:14cv02843 (N.D. Cal.), and on July 1, the court denied Twitter’s motion for summary judgment, and granted the plaintiff’s cross-motion.
According to the court’s opinion, some Twitter users sign up to receive tweets via text message, but will later change phone numbers without bothering to inform Twitter. This can be a problem because sometimes cell phone carriers “recycle” old discarded phone numbers, assigning them to new cell phone users, in which case the person with the recycled number may allegedly receive unwanted tweets. The plaintiff in the case claims to have been in this position. On that basis, she brought suit under the TCPA, which allegedly renders it unlawful to “make any call” —a phrase courts interpret as including texts—using an automatic telephone dialing system without the consent of the recipient.