As a nuanced expert in four-letter words, I really have an overused one, in particular, this election cycle. Stop. STOP. I send the word STOP via text to someone every single day and it’s not my kids. Another four-letter word I hate is SPAM.
For the last year, and up until the moment I voted Tuesday, I must have received a thousand spam texts. I have received unsolicited texts from every candidate, every candidate’s election committee, friends of every candidate, every PAC associated with a candidate, and dozens more asking me to vote for – and against – the new casino in Richmond. At the end of the email, it often says the same thing: “Reply STOP to unsubscribe.”
Yes, I subscribe to lots of SMS alerts. I get very helpful reminders from Puritan Cleaners twice a week, letting me know that they’re coming to pick up my big ol’ bag of dry cleaning. I get texts from CVS reminding me to pick up prescriptions. But SMS messages from politicians? I never subscribed, to begin with. That is spam, but that doesn’t necessarily matter.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was supposed to outlaw unwanted messages or spam. If your company sends an unsolicited email to a person, you could face a fine of up to $16,000 for each occurrence. Technology has changed a lot in the last 18 years, and new rules that outlaw unsolicited text messages have now been incorporated into the original statute.