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Twilio in Trouble?: Enterprising TCPA Complaint Seeks to Hold Twilio Liable for Illegal Calls Made by User’s of its Platform and This Could Be Massive
Monday, May 20, 2024

So a few weeks ago I became fed up with Twilio blocking legitimate communications and I said a few things about it. And so did numerous others.

Well it turns out Twilio might not just be WRONGFULLY blocking legal and legitimate traffic, it might be turning a blind eye to retched illegal robocalls–that according to a new class action complaint seeking to hold Twilio responsible for potential TCPA violations.

In the new complaint–available here Twilio Class Action–a consumer named Michael Anthony claims he received numerous robotext messages and robocalls from numbers owned by Twilio without his consent.

Interestingly he also alleges he spoke with Twilio’s litigation counsel and a paralegal and demanded the messages stop but they continued.

As Twilio is a platform and not the ultimate sender of the messages at issue, TCPA suits of this sort against Twilio are relatively rare. Still they are not unprecedented and at least one proceeded past the pleadings stage.

The new suit–brought by the Godfather of TCPA class actions–seeks to hold Twilio liable arguing that “Plaintiff notified Twilio that it continually originated unlawful robocalls to his wireless number without consent, Twilio turned a blind eye and did nothing.”

In Plaintiff’s view this could make the difference between suits where platforms are allowed out of cases and those where they must answer for calls made by users of their technology: “Like the knowledge Twilio obtained through Plaintiff’s communications
begging for Twilio to stop contacting him, Courts have refused to dismiss suits where
the defendant knew that illegal activity was underway.”

Anthony also alleges the FCC ordered Twilio to stop carrying illegal traffic or face a shutdown: “Failure to comply with the steps outlined in this letter may result in downstream voice service providers blocking all of Twilio’s traffic, permanently.”

Pretty serious allegations, of course.

Remains to be seen if there is any merit to the claims.

Notably the suit is NOT a class action. But if the theory asserted in the complaint catches on, the next one very well could be.

The central theme of the complaint appears to be that Twilio ought to honor network wide opt outs, but that does not seem consistent with the TCPA’s CFR regs related to company-specific DNC requests. So while I am annoyed at Twilio for blocking lawful traffic, I understand why it would be resistant to banning every one of its users from contacting a phone number merely because of a single opt out request.

Then again the messages Plaintiff is complaining about appear to be UNCONSENTED marketing texts. Unclear to me why Twilio let THOSE messages through while blocking CONSENTED informational messages in other contexts.

Will keep a very close eye on this.

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