Federal Court Approves The Application Of The Can-Spam Act To Messages Sent Within Social Networking Platforms

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Several recent court decisions appear to expand the breadth of communications governed by the federal CAN-SPAM Act beyond traditional email.1 Despite some defendants’ vehement arguments in favor of limiting the scope of the CAN-SPAM Act solely to traditional forms of email, the federal district courts of California have applied the legislation to electronic messaging on social networking platforms such as Facebook and MySpace as well.

The most recent of these decisions, in Facebook v. MaxBounty,2 held that the CANSPAM Act applied to commercial messages written on Facebook walls or in news feeds, inboxes, and user profiles. The decisions merit consideration by technology enterprises because social media platforms represent an increasingly critical channel for reaching consumers, and many investment opportunities depend in some measure upon in-platform or cross-platform messaging. Determining whether to contact consumers using social networks and how such messaging should occur in order to remain in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act represents a growing concern as social media messaging continues to scale.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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