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FCC Rules P2P Text Platforms Not ATDS

July 1, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_541239523 Asian Woman typing text message on smart phone in a cafe. Cropped image of young woman sitting at a chair with a coffee using mobile phone.

On June 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made an important ruling regarding automated text messaging platforms. Stemming from a petition by P2P Alliance, the FCC ruling could be a positive point of clarification for brands that use text messaging as a part of their digital marketing strategies. 

What Did The FCC Rule About TCPA? 

The FCC ruling reads: 

We do not rule on whether any particular P2P [peer to peer] text platform is an autodialer because the record lacks a sufficient factual basis for us to confirm (or for commenters to assess) whether any particular P2P text platform actually works as claimed in the P2P Alliance Petition. We clarify, however, that if a texting platform actually “requires a person to actively and affirmatively manually dial each recipient’s number and transmit each message one at a time” and lacks the capacity to transmit more than one message without a human manually dialing each recipient’s number, as suggested in the P2P Alliance Petition, then such platform would not be an “autodialer” that is subject to the TCPA.

The National Law Review notes that this ruling is particularly significant for “folks using text platforms that allow template-based, fast-paced texting, on a one-to-one (i.e. click-to-text) basis so long as the phone number is entered each time.” 

Will The FCC Ruling On P2P Text Platforms Allow Spam Calls?

The FCC reinforced that TCPA was never meant to stop all kinds of calls and texts, and that if someone willingly gives out their phone number, it isn’t a TCPA violation for a brand or business to use it. This assumes, of course, that all other TCPA regulations are being followed. 

Why Does The FCC Ruling On P2P Text Platforms Matter To Digital Marketers?

Mobile strategies are critical for effective, multichannel digital marketing strategies, and TCPA has presented some confusion for brands that want to optimize their reach and engagement as much as possible. This latest ruling from the FCC clarifies a portion of the TCPA requirements as it relates to text messages and ATDS requirements (automatic telephone dialing systems).

Are You Looking For Safe Ways To Reach Opted-In Audiences?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) understands how important it is for brands to adhere to regulations like CCPA, TCPA and CAN-SPAM, so we have prioritized and operationalized compliance across everything we do to offer brand-safe digital consumer engagement opportunities.

Contact DMS

About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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