Process Service Through Facebook?

Since the inception of this great county process serving laws have changed.  It started with Pennoyer v. Neff which held that service required defendants to be “personally served” in the forum state.  Seventy years later, this concept became impracticable as the nation was growing at such a great pace. So the courts expanded the law to permit delivery of a summons to a defendant’s “last and usual place of abode.” Seven years after that, in International Shoe v. Washington, the Supreme Court again revamped the standard for service – this time holding substituted service is adequate where it gives “reasonable assurance that the notice will be actual.” This pronouncement laid the foundation for service via registered mail.  Finally, in Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., the court set forth what has come to be the standard for alternative service of process: that the means employed be “reasonably calculated” to reach its intended target.  From this decision, we are now allowed to serve by publication.  In December 2008, an Australian Court ruled that a default judgment on a loan and allowed it to be served by private message to the defendants’ public Facebook pages.

Process servers are already using social networking sites to help find people who are not wise enough to hide themselves from others.  Facebook has become a good tool to help locate phone numbers, pictures and many other helpful tools to help get someone served.  I have never tried to friend a person I have served for information.  If their page is blocked, that is as far as I personally will proceed.

Can service of process happen through social networking sites?  Logically not now but if sites like Google+, who force users to use their real names, maintain their policies this could be a possibility.  Very soon process service through facebook and other social network sites might be the rule not the exception.  


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