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Facebook user not happy with birthday text reminders

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Talk about unfriending: Facebook Inc. wants to dismiss a potential class action lawsuit alleging the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant sent unsolicited text messages to users containing birthday announcements in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which aims to guard against mass telemarketing and spam.

Colin Brickman wants to put an end to Facebook's practice of sending text messages informing users of a Facebook friend's birthday via a lawsuit that argues that these messages violate individuals' statutory and privacy rights and that they are paying to receive these messages without prior express consent if they do not have unlimited messaging plans.

Facebook is seeking a dismissal by arguing in part that Mr. Brickman provided express consent to receive calls and personalized messages by giving the company his cell phone number, in contrast to the mass communications that the legislation is intended to prohibit. Facebook also argues that if the court finds the legislation is applicable to the birthday text messages, then it should also find the statute itself violates the First Amendment because it is a content-based restriction of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.

If Mr. Brickman's lawsuit prevails, Facebook could be on the hook for damages amounting to $500 per violation — meaning per text message — or $1,500 per violation if it is deemed to be willful.

While one can sympathize with Mr. Brickman's spam plight, how else would a person remember the birthdays of all 27 of their first cousins if not for Facebook?