Australian Court Says Facebook can be used to Serve Legal Papers

Just when you thought you heard everything, along comes a story off the AP wire from Australia about a court approving the use of Facebook to serve legal papers.

Consumers that were worried that their social networking site was being used by employers now have to worry that Facebook or MySpace may be used by lawyers and court, if US Courts were to ever duplicate that example.

According to the story, an Australian lawyer had been trying to locate a couple to serve a lien notice telling them they had lost their house as a result of a default.   Apparently, the lawyer was unable to locate the couple and complete the legal service of papers.  The lawyer turned to the court after discovering the couple had a Facebook page.  Although novel, the court approved using Facebook for that purpose. 

The effort ultimately was not successful because the couple apparently turned up their privacy setting so that the lawyer could not get though.

Facebook, however, was apparently pleased with the ruling, because in their view,  it validated Facebook “as a reliable, secure and private medium for communication,” and showed the increasing role Facebook is playing in people’s lives.

The use of Facebook, MySpace and social networking sites by employers has been controversial in the U.S.  For more about using social networking sites for employment, see: