Getting ‘Served’ on Facebook: The Issue of Process Service on Social Network Examined Again

Currently, getting served on Facebook generally happens when you make a quick quip on someone’s (or your own) status update and a friend has to offer you ice for that burn, or more likely in my case, when your mother publicly reprimands you in front of 343 people for using edgy language or acknowledging the book Fifty Shades of Gray exists.

But embarrassment on Facebook could be the least of your worries in coming years, as there is a growing push to examine the use of Facebook for process service, meaning that you could be served a summons because of the ability to locate you on Facebook.

Comedian Pete Holmes has a joke in one of his acts about Facebook secretly being a tool for the government to monitor us, and we willingly give up all our personal information like phone numbers as well as tagging everyone we know in photographs. Privacy outside of Facebook itself (meaning how third parties use the information Facebook deliberately or unwittingly collects) has not even been close to hashed out legally, and even those of us who provide a minimum of data based on the Terms of Service are sitting ducks when it comes to getting tracked down on the social network.

Via AllFacebook, Long Island biz blog Long Island Business News ran a piece on a recent case that touched on the issue of service users based on Facebook:

“Ultimately, (United States Southern District of New York Judge John) Keenan authorized service on the individual by publication in four local newspapers covering four areas where Fortunato had listed addresses, plus, interestingly, a fifth area that was listed on Fortunato’s Facebook page as her current location. So even though Facebook service of process was not ultimately sanctioned, service of process was effected nonetheless by Facebook.”

AllFacebook brings up the obvious issues surrounding the summons serving process in relation to Facebook, such as the fact that there is no way to verify a user has logged in or received a summons. Would you stop using Facebook if a summons could come to your inbox?