Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
class action, recycled numbers, text messaging


And Now It's Time For The Bogus Class Action Lawsuits Against Facebook

from the pick-your-popular-company-and-sue dept

At this point, it's just an unfortunate fact of life that as a company becomes more well known it will soon be targeted by totally random lawsuits. We've already seen all sorts of random people suing to take credit for the idea of Facebook (all of whom ignored that Facebook's success had nothing to do with the idea and everything to do with the execution). Now it's time for random users and their lawyers to come up with all sorts of odd lawsuit ideas. For example, we've now got a woman and her lawyer trying to create a class action lawsuit against Facebook because the woman got a new mobile phone number, and that number is receiving too many unwanted text messages that were sent through Facebook and intended for the previous owner of the number. Why is this Facebook's fault? That's not clear, but it's a hot company worth billions, so might as well sue and hope to get some cash out of it. This is a problem that plenty of people face if they get a new phone number that's been "recycled" but it's hardly the fault of the companies who are simply forwarding the messages as directed.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    robdigi, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 2:35pm

    Im gonna sue them because Im getting to many unwanted comments on my page

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    john woo, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    jimmy joe junior, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 3:15pm

    I'm going to sue because I have no comments on my page

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    5Tacos, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 3:42pm


    I was at my library and a book fell off the shelf and hit me in the face...Now I know who is responsible.

    I'm calling Larry the Lawyer right now!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    MrPeach, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 4:09pm

    Unintended consequences

    As I understand it, this was an attempt to reduce total data transit into or out of Comcast's intranet. If so, this is certain to backfire as it seems the only way around this nonsense is to use an external proxy, which not only defeats their ability to control individual connections, but it forces ALL traffic from that user to transit outside Comcast.

    I know I will shortly be getting a Relakks account, if for no other reason than to give Comcast their due comeuppance! When they fess up and promise to stop, then so will I!

    Good job Comcrap!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Mischa, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 4:30pm

    Since the new owner has to pay for the text messages, Facebook should be liable if they don't provide a way for the new owner to get their phone number removed from Facebook's forwarding list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    be_free, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 4:59pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    I'm going to sue because I have no friends on facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Shohat, Oct 23rd, 2007 @ 11:41pm


    Since when is facebook worthy billions ?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Max Powers at, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 12:27am

    New laws needed

    The "frivolous lawsuits" have to be met with complete strength to counter-sue for damages against the lawyer and his client.

    When this happens, and court decisions are handed down against these stupid lawsuits, lawyers will think twice before they get involved in this nonsense.

    Fight fire with fire or it will never end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Julian Bond, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 12:55am


    There's a quite amazing number of instances of stupidity in this story. Here's a few:-
    - Recycling phone numbers
    - Facebook (FB) continuing to send SMS while a phone number is out of action
    - FB user signing up for SMS alerts and then walking away when they lose their phone
    - Charging for receiving SMS
    - FB unable to manage their alert system
    - The Telco unable to manage their SMS system and apply a selective block
    - A lawsuit
    - A class action law suit
    - A lawsuit against FB instead of the Telco.
    - AP picking up the story
    - Hundreds of news outlets regurgitating the AP story verbatim without adding any value.

    Still. I guess, "That's just the way it is in the USA".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    PaulT, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 1:03am


    You have to pay for receiving text messages over there?

    OK, here's what I don't understand. The article doesn't mention whether she actually contacted Facebook and asked them to stop the messages. Surely if they are contacted about a situation like this, it's a trivial matter to check with the user and stop the messages?

    Sounds like she went straight to court without trying to contact them first. Facebook aren't responsible for the content of the messages, they're just forwarding them as requested, and can't change the forwarding if they don't know the owner of the number has changed - which they can't know unless someone (e.g. the new/old owner) tells them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Nathan, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 2:29am

    This reminds me of something....

    Specifically, when we got a second phone line at my parents house a few years ago we started to get some REALLY weird phone calls for about seven different people including a minister. The most annoying violator was an unidentified Walgreen's that would call and say that someone's prescription was ready...somewhere. This took months to resolve since you have to be the account holder, and cancel at the location where you get your prescriptions filled. Eventually I was talking to the corporate headquarters and at some point the calls stopped coming. In our case, we stopped going to Walgreen's. We could use it's services, they were the closest, but there are other options available. Her case is identical. All she has to do is cancel her account and use one of the competing services. It's that simple, just vote with your advertising clicks instead of your dollars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    another mike, Oct 24th, 2007 @ 4:40pm

    sue Facebook for the Telco's mistake!

    she should sic her lawyer on the Telco for recycling the phone number too quickly. let it sit dead for a bit so the senders see that the number is no longer in service and drop it from their phone list. four years on, i still get telemarketers calling for the previous owner of my number.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    kato, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 10:46am

    Get a Facebook phone number

    This is why everyone should get a contact ringto number from It would protect your privacy and still get phone calls when it is convenient. If it gets breached, it’s much easier to change your ringto number than your home phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Don, Dec 3rd, 2007 @ 5:07pm

    A better lawsuit

    Here's something worth suing Facebook over:

    "Beacon will report back to Facebook on members' activities on third-party sites that participate in Beacon even if the users are logged off from Facebook and have declined having their activities broadcast to their Facebook friends.

    That's the finding published on Friday by Stefan Berteau, senior research engineer at CA's Threat Research Group in a note summarizing tests he conducted.",140182-c,onlineprivacy/article.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Justin, Jan 25th, 2008 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re: Facebook Lawsuit

    We had the same problem with MySpace. We had no MySpace account. We contacted MySpace 12 times and emailed them the messages. They did nothing to stop them. We were receiving 20 a day which we had to pay for. No one offered to reimburse me for my bill. Which by the way was over 100 dollars for 3 months of unsolicited messages. Wouldn't you want to be reimbursed? If they said no not our problem, wouldn't you threaten to sue? If they are doing it to us chances are they are doing it to a number of people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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