T-Mobile’s new terms of service (TOS) policy will fine companies advertising guns over its network using A2P messaging (SMS, MMS, Short Code, Toll-Free, and 10DLC).
The prohibition does not only apply to guns; peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging is unaffected. P2P messaging goes between a minimum of two retail clients. The new restriction only applies to third-party text message providers like Vonage and Bandwidth.com.
BREAKING: @TMobile has quietly updated their TOS to include fines for content they don’t agree with.
Beginning on January 1, 2024, they will be fining users who commit perceived violations on their bandwidth.
Who knew in America that the phone providers would now be policing… pic.twitter.com/spdzxGxtjx
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) December 24, 2023
Businesses frequently do not send text messages to their clients themselves. Companies utilize outside text providers to handle all of their A2P messaging. These outside A2P providers are the focus of T-Mobile’s latest sanctions. Unless they have a direct contract with T-Mobile or a third party that uses T-Mobile directly, such as Vonage or Bandwidth.com, neither the end-user nor the firearms businesses will be penalized.
According to the revised TOS, depending on the severity level, each infringement (sev-0) will result in fines ranging from $500 to $2000.
Phishing, smishing, and social engineering are examples of Tier 1 infractions. These emails are fraudulent and aim to steal personal data, including bank account details, to deceive the recipient.
A punishment of $2000 is imposed per communication for a Tier 1 offense.
According to the TOS:
“Tier 1: $2,000, for phishing, smishing, and social engineering”
“Social Engineering refers to the practice of targeting individuals in a way that manipulates individuals to reveal private information like credit card numbers, or social security numbers.”
A message containing anything illegal in any state or at the federal level is considered a Tier 2 offense. These goods can include CBD, marijuana, or advertisements.
The fact that different states have varying gun regulations is one issue that gun owners should be especially concerned about. particular states prohibit particular types of guns, while others put restrictions on magazines.
Due to legal differences, a text message promoting a typical 30-round magazine may result in a $1000 fine.
According to the TOS:
“Tier 2: $1,000, for illegal content (included content must be legal in all 50 states and federally).”
A Tier 3 infraction relates to content that is stolen. SHAFT is an acronym for guns, alcohol, tobacco, hate, and sex. The gun industry and gun owners are particularly concerned about this tier.
The third-party text provider might be fined $500 per message for promoting any of these products.
According to the TOS:
“Tier 3: $500, for all other violations including, but not limited to, SHAFT.”
Speaking with multiple supervisors over the phone, Jared Yanis of the Guns and Gadgets YouTube channel called the T-Mobile customer service number.
Although none of these workers were aware of any modifications to the TOS, they all agreed that they wouldn’t know until the revised TOS took effect. On January 1, 2024, the revised TOS is scheduled to take effect.
To obtain a response, AmmoLand News contacted the T-Mobile public relations team. Although a particular statement was not possible, the person confirmed the details of the new policy and confirmed that barring any modifications before then, it will take effect on New Year’s Day.
On the official T-Mobile support page, a T-Mobile Community Manager verified the modifications as well.
“Hello all,” HeatherM, the support manager, wrote. “These changes only apply to third-party messaging vendors that send commercial mass messaging campaigns for other businesses. The vendors will be fined if the content they are sending does not meet the standards in our code of conduct, which is in place to protect consumers from illegal or illicit content and aligns to federal and state laws.”
If T-Mobile permits advertisers to utilize its platform in states where certain things are unlawful, the company may face legal action. Because its residents attend a gun exhibition in Pennsylvania, New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against the event. Defense Distributed is being sued by California, while Polymer80 is being sued by other states. The cellular operator may be worried about states pursuing them.
Gun owners must make a stand, regardless of whether they did so to avoid liability or out of moral obligation. The fact that it targets corporations and businesses that sell to gun owners violates our constitutionally protected rights, even though there is no plan to fine non-commercial customers.
The first announcement made by Bandwidth.com is now hidden behind a password-protected wall. As of the time of writing, Vonage’s notice is still active on their website.