Foreign courts are increasingly willing to accept service through Facebook when other methods fail.
Judge entered an order for "substitutional service," ruling that the plaintiff could serve one defendant by publication by forwarding a copy of the statement of claim to the HR department where the defendant had formerly worked and by sending notice to the defendant's Facebook page. Knott v. Sutherland (Feb. 5, 2009) Edmonton 0803 002267 (Alta.Q.B.M.)
High Court allowed an individual to be served with process via Facebook in commercial litigation over failed business transactions. Based on the failure of conventional efforts at service because the defendant's whereabouts were unknown, the court consented to service through Facebook. Axe Market Gardens v Craig Axe CIV: 2008-485-2676.
In September 2009, the High Court allowed an injunction against an anonymous blogger to be served via Twitter. British lawyer and conservative blogger Donal Blaney obtained the injunction after an unknown blogger began impersonating him on the Internet.
No reported decision has been found from a court in the United States allowing service by Facebook or Twitter. Concerns are as follows:
On the other hand, neither notice by publication nor public posting provide actual notice to defendants, although those methods of service are commonly accepted alternative methods of service. Service by email has also been recognized in New York, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
John G. Browning, Served Without Ever Leaving the Computer, Service of Process Via Social Media, Tex. Bar J. (March 2010) (available at http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.barjournals/texbarj0073&id=1&size=2&collection=texbarj&index=texbarj)
This article is an excerpt of the written materials from Using Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites as Informal Discovery, a continuing legal education course presented by the ABA Young Lawyers Division at the 2011 ABA MidYear Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. This portion of the course was presented by Lisa McManus, Web 2.0 Legal Communities Manager at LexisNexis. Other panelists included Min Cho, an associate with Holland & Knight LLP in Orlando, Florida, and Stacie S. Winkler, an associate with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC in Memphis, Tennessee.