You got served – via Facebook?

Is such a statement really a misnomer?  The truth is that service of process via Facebook is a real possibility in the near future. The trend began in 2008 when an Australian court allowed a couple to be served with a foreclosure notice via their Facebook pages.  Since then several other courts around the world have issued opinions allowing service through Facebook.

In the United States there have been only two opinions issued on the subject and these courts split.  The first came in 2011.  A judge allowed the petitioner to serve divorce papers on her husband via email “Facebook, Myspace or any other social networking site.”  The judge reasoned that the traditional methods of service were antiquated and “technology provide[d] a cheaper and hopefully more effective way.”

While it is unlikely that service through Facebook will ever become a primary method of service, it may become acceptable in cases where locating a party has proven extremely difficult.  Such service will likely only be permitted with the court’s permission.  Based on the opinions of the courts who have allowed it and even from those denying such service, anyone attempting to serve another via Facebook will likely need to: (1) diligently have attempted other methods; (2) prove that the page belongs to who they are attempting to serve; and (3) show the Facebook page is a reasonable method of reaching them.

For more information visit the ABA Journal here and this article from lexisnexis.com.