Tampa Bay lawyer sues Parler, alleges illegal text solicitation
Image via AP.

The social media app Parler launched in 2018 as a 'free-speech space.'

An Apollo Beach lawyer has filed a class action lawsuit against the social media platform Parler after receiving unsolicited texts promoting the app.

Dale Golden, a 58-year-old lawyer from Apollo Beach, filed a complaint against Parler with the 13th Judicial Circuit near the end of June. In the complaint, Golden alleges the Delaware-based social media platform violated Florida’s Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) when it texted Golden, and likely other Florida residents, promoting new features on the app.

“New at Parler: Reply to comments, emojis responses, notifications fixes & more. Check out @Parler for all the latest,” the text provided in the complaint states. The message appears to be from an automated texting service.

The complaint argues the message violates Florida statute because the purpose of message “was to solicit the sale of consumer goods and/or services,” without the individual’s “prior express written consent.” If true, that’s a violation of the FTSA, which makes it illegal to make sales calls via an automated system without the prior consent.

The complaint also points out that the text was likely sent to thousands of Floridians, making it a class action lawsuit on behalf of the others who received the messaging.

To note, Golden defines himself as an expert on telephone marketing laws on his law firm bio, describing his practice as “nationally recognized” for work with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The social media app Parler launched in 2018 as a “free-speech space” for those seeking an alternative to major platforms like Twitter. Founded by then-CEO John Matze and “Republican mega-donorRebekah Mercer, the app has made national headlines before. An Amazon spokesperson said the app “encouraged and incited violence against others” after the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.

Matze was fired by Parler in 2021, sparking controversy after he said his firing was in retaliation for “proposing content restrictions, including a clamp down on domestic terrorists and the baseless, pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon.”

Florida Politics reached out to Golden and Parler for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publishing.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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