Fake TCPA News?: Questionable YouMail Robocall Data Relied Upon by Mainstream News Outlets

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I never thought I’d say “fake news.” But it is interesting the way flames get fanned these days.

As I wrote a couple weeks back, the NCLC has submitted a comment to the FCC arguing that legitimate American businesses are behind the majority of robocalls plaguing this nation. I noted at the time that this narrative seemed inconsistent with the data and the experiences of ordinary Americans.

Nonetheless, NCLC has been discussing these matters with media outlets who are running stories adopting the position that legitimate American businesses account for the majority of robocalls. Indeed, in one recent article–published by the Washington Post and picked up by gizmodo over the weekend–NCLC’s preferred “robocall” aggregator YouMail was cited along with the following quote from the NCLC:

If the industry is permitted to send unlimited texts and make unlimited [robo-calls], without the ability of the consumer to say stop, who knows what horrible things will happen?

Seems a tad alarmist.

While the article correctly notes that the definition of robocalls is far from clear, it nonetheless notes that “robocalls” are at their highest ever and attributes the majority of those calls to legitimate American business:

About three-quarters of those calls were telemarketing calls, alerts from companies such as pharmacies with which consumers have a relationship and payment reminders from numbers associated with Capital One, Comcast, Wells Fargo and AT&T, the data shows.

How a call blocking app became the gatekeeper to defining and identifying robocalls is a story someone needs to run. We’re going to see if we can get the YouMail CEO on our podcast. More to come, I’m sure.

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