Facebook, the popular online social network, is being sued by a woman who alleges it has profited from its members sending thousands of text messages to cellphone users whose numbers previously belonged to other people.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in a San Jose federal court, highlights the confusion and frustration that can arise when phone numbers are reassigned after a customer's service ends.
Plaintiff Lindsey Abrams alleges she began receiving unsolicited text messages apparently intended for an unidentified Facebook member shortly after she received a new mobile number from Verizon in November 2006. The messages included explicit language and unsettling remarks, according to the suit. She alleges she was charged 10 cents per message and told she couldn't block the Facebook texting without blocking mesages she did want to receive.
The lawsuit, which her lawyer will seek to have certified as a class action, contends other consumers with recycled phone numbers have been besieged with unsolicited Facebook text messages containing party invitations and unwanted sexual advances. Young children have been among the recipients of the unauthorized Facebook messages, the suit alleges, creating "frightening and dangerous" situations.
Jay Edelson, a Chicago attorney representing Abrams, said he hopes to force Facebook to take steps so its roughly 47 million members won't be able to send text messages to recycled phone numbers. "There are things that Facebook could be doing to prevent this from happening," Adelson said. "Hopefully, this suit will give them the incentive to stop it." The lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages. (info from The Associated Press)