The UK and Australia allow legal notice service via Facebook. And why not, really? There are those of us, myself included, who are very hard to track down. Facebook makes finding people easy, and so many people use the service. According to Heather Smith’s Business Week article, such a service system might soon make its way to the USA.
But, there are reasons this is undesirable. First and foremost, privacy is a concern. Any time we grant new rights to the powers that be, a careful examination of such issues must take place.
Second, such a system would change the nature of Facebook and Twitter and any other service that the courts are permitted to use. Why? Social Media is still being legitimized, both as a means for communication and as a means for commerce. Granting social media the privilege of a recognized legal service channel is forcing them to grow up, maybe prematurely. Knowing that you can get served when checking friend requests also may deter some users from using the systems at all. It would surprise me if these digital behemoth companies would encourage American legislators to allow such a change.
Then again, such an expansion into “real world activities” might just be the push that these sites need to get social commerce going. If sites shift from entertainment to a place where legal documents are served, commerce seems like a pretty logical and moderate integration.
For now, time will tell, but I’m doubting that anyone will be hearing from a debt collector on Facebook any time soon.