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Should it be legal to serve divorce papers on Facebook?

(SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS) For those unlucky in love, Facebook offers a way to be told that your marriage is over: the electronic delivery of divorce papers.

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facebook divorce

You’ve been served

Since its beginnings in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, we’ve increasingly come to rely on Facebook for a multitude of services through its core brand, as well as its multiple acquisitions.

Want to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones? It’s got it. Take and share multitudes of photos in your daily life, documenting the sublime to the banal? It’s got that, too. Virtual reality? Yes, even that.

And, for those unlucky in love, Facebook offers a way to be told that your marriage is over: the electronic delivery of divorce papers.

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The traditional way

To be fair, Facebook — and the law — doesn’t discriminate as to which kind of process service you receive on the platform. So, instead of divorce papers, it might well be a notice that you’re being sued by a neighbor. And, to be fair, Facebook or other social media sites won’t be the first step taken to contact you.

We’re familiar with the trope of the process server. He hangs about outside of the house or office of the soon-to-be-served, resorting to subterfuge when necessary to get the signature he needs on the documents, saying “You’ve been served,” as the papers flutter into the hands of the sued.

Very little of this is close to a true depiction of what life is like for the process server, but the image persists. In some instances however, it is accurate.

It’s not hard to imagine the lengths people might go to avoid being sued. Accurate and timely service of process of a complaint is crucial to ensure the potential defendant in a proceeding knows they are being sued, and has the fullest ability to respond to the claims against them.

A new precedent

If you’re being sued, you can expect the courts to attempt to notify you through traditional methods like in-person service or through certified mail. However, when neither of those methods prove fruitful, courts may allow the plaintiff to attempt to serve you through substituted or alternative service methods, including electronic service.

A decade ago, using e-mail to provide service of process was a novelty. Courts fretted over this, as they were uncertain about the reliability and the ubiquitousness of the method. However, as we’ve seen, the overwhelming majority of Americans regularly check their e-mail accounts.

Using e-mail to provide notification to parties in a case is now a regularly accepted tool.

With the continued expansion of social media sites, such as Facebook, one could argue an expansion of process service to include those sites would ensure people are notified in a reliable way.

Working for the read receipt

“The desire to give actual notice is at the heart of service. The strongest argument for effectuating service of process through social media — Facebook in particular — is that, in many cases, the likelihood of the defendant receiving actual notice is extremely high because users of social media typically access their accounts regularly,” writes Keely Knapp, JD, in the Louisiana Law Review. “Moreover, through social media the plaintiff has the ability to gauge a defendant’s interaction on the account, which makes assessing the chance of actually receiving notice even more accurate.”

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Think about it for a moment. If the process server can verify you logged into your Facebook or other social media account and posted updated, or interacted through Messenger, then, when all else traditional fails, that’s the best — and probably most accurate — way to let you know you need to respond to a lawsuit.

The critical point here is that you’ve got to be able to ascertain that it’s actually the person who is named on the account using it to be able to claim that service of process via Facebook was accurate and timely. Consider for example a recent divorce trial in Brooklyn. The state of New York previously allowed Facebook as an alternate means of service when all else had failed. However, the judge in this case ruled that the defendant hadn’t interacted with his Facebook account since 2014.

Given a lack of updated information, there was no way to establish that he would presumptively come across it. While his wife argued that she had interacted with her husband on Facebook since 2014, she had no physical documentation of those exchanges.

“As such, plaintiff has not demonstrated that… service by Facebook is reasonably calculated to apprise defendant of the matrimonial action,” concluded the judge. “Before the Court could consider allowing service by Facebook…the record must contain evidence that the Facebook profile was one that defendant actually uses for receipt of messages.”

Utah, the cutting edge of law

The model for utilizing social media sites as an alternative service of process comes from a perhaps unlikely source: the state of Utah.

The state has been at the leading edge of considering ways to allow its citizens to interact with the court system in a smoother fashion.

Because of this forward thinking attitude, the state amended its rules of civil procedure in 2001 — before the existence of Facebook — to include electronic formats, mentioning email and “other possible electronic means”.

Thinking back to 2001, the social media landscape was barren. Sure there was Xanga, but Friendster wouldn’t come along until the next year, and Tom wouldn’t be our friend on Myspace until 2004. So, as Stephanie Irvine noted, “what was also genius about this is that when said electronic means became possible, the law wouldn’t need to be rewritten, and thus, judges could determine when the “other means” would be appropriate.”

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The courts in Utah have remained progressive, at least on this front. In 2010, rules were amended, and a specific affidavit was created for process service by electronic means, specifically mentioning “Social Network (such as Facebook), Twitter, Text Message, and Phone.”

Soon to be adopted as normal

While not every state has caught up to the electronic revolution for alternative electronic means of process service, there will come a time when it will seem like a normal part of operations. We’ve accepted the alteration of our lives with the assistance of technology. The unimaginable and fantastic are becoming commonplace daily.

The ingrained nature of social media means that, for some, it is the most reliable means of getting in touch with them.

Their online presence may be more stable than their corporeal one.

As with any form of legal documentation, ensuring the intended recipient actually receives it and can be documented doing so is critical. So as you peruse your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed, be careful about just scrolling on through. You might just miss an important date in your future.

#Served

Roger is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds two Master's degrees, one in Education Leadership and another in Leadership Studies. In his spare time away from researching leadership retention and communication styles, he loves to watch baseball, especially the Red Sox!

Social Media

New Reddit policy on impersonation mimics other social media giants

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Reddit is the latest social media company to change their policy to protect against deepfake impersonation, because of the harm they can cause.

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impersonation with deepfakes

Reddit is the latest social media company making updates to their rules and policies ahead of the 2020 election. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and now Reddit are all trying to make the social internet a safer place to receive information.

Reddit’s new policy officially bans impersonation with the goal of handling “bad actors who are trying to manipulate Reddit, particularly are issues of great public significance, like elections.”

Deepfakes have become a key topic of conversation the last few years. In the wake of the mass spreading of misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, users have grown wearier than ever of the information they see online. Deepfakes are no longer a niche subject, but an everyday pain point that technology companies are scrambling to control.

In a statement made on r/redditsecurity, Reddit informed users of the change to website policy stating, “Reddit does not allow content that impersonates individuals or entities in a misleading or deceptive manner. This not only includes using a Reddit account to impersonate someone, but also encompasses things such as domains that mimic others, as well as deepfakes or other manipulated content presented to mislead, or falsely attributed to an individual or entity.”

The platform isn’t trying to make a mass change to it’s often humor driven culture. Parody and satire are still allowed forms of impersonation so long as the joke is obvious. Reddit has vowed to always take context into account when looking at cases of user impersonation.

It’s a good sign for society when popular social platforms start taking their role in controlling the spread of false information seriously. Companies like Reddit are in a position to create real change in the way we spread and consume information about major global events.

What’s unclear is how much man power these companies are putting behind their policies. Reddit ends their statement by pointing users to a report form that users can submit if they or someone else is the victim of impersonation. The question users should be asking is how long would it take to get a response or see action on these reports?

Policy changes are great, but if companies are simply throwing them onto their fine print with no resources behind enforcement then it’s not social change, it’s just legal jargon to protect their ass.

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Social Media

Image size is a vital factor into usability of your brand

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Keep all of your social media profiles and products looking their best with the social media image size cheat sheet for 2020.

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image size matters

We can safely say that the one thing social media will assuredly do in 2020 is only get more powerful. As such, it’s important to keep up with the sizing information for social media images to keep all of your profiles looking fresh. Make A Website Hub has the official rundown in their annual Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet.
Twitter:
• Profile Photo: 400 x 400 pixels / Displays at 200 x 200 pixels (a maximum 100 KB file size)
• Header Photo: 1500 x 500 pixels (a maximum 10 MB file size)
• In-stream Photo: 440 x 220 pixels (a maximum 5 MB file size for photos and 3 MB file size for animated gifs)

Facebook:
• Cover Photo: 820 x 310 pixels (a preferred maximum file size of 100 KB)
• Profile Picture: 180 x 180 pixels
• Shared Image: 1200 x 630 pixels
• Shared Link: 1200 x 627
• Event Image: 1920 x 1080 px (Shows in feed: 470 × 174 pixels)
• Highlighted Image: 1200 x 717 pixels (appears on profile at 843 x 504 pixels)

Google+:
• Profile Image: 250 x 250 pixels
• Cover Picture: 1080 x 608 pixels
• Shared Image: 497 x 373 pixels

Instagram:
• Profile Picture: 110 x 110 pixels
• Photo Size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
• Video to Stories: 750 x 1334 pixels
• Photo Thumbnails: 161 x 161 pixels

Pinterest:
• Profile Picture: 165 x 165 pixels
• Board Display Image: 222 x 150 pixels
• Pin Sizes: a width of 238 pixels (with scaled height)

Tumblr:
• Profile Image: 128 x 128 pixels
• Image Posts: 500 x 750 pixels

YouTube:
• Channel Cover Picture: 2560 x 1440 pixels (for desktop), 1855 x 423 pixels (for tablets), 1546 x 423 pixels (for smartphones), and 2560 x 1440 pixels (for TV)
• Video Uploads: 1280 x 760 pixels

LinkedIn:
• Personal Page
o Personal Background image: 1584 x 396px
o Standard Logo: 400 x 400 pixels
o Profile image: 400 x 400 pixels
• Company/Brand Page
o Background image: 1536 x 768px
o Standard Logo: 400 x 400px
o Business / Career Cover Picture: 974 x 330 pixels
o Square Logo: 60 x 60px
o Business Banner Image: 646 x 220 pixels
o Standard Logo: 400 x 400px

Ello:
• Banner image: 2560 x 1440 pixels
• Profile image:360 x 360 pixels

WeChat:
• Profile Photo: 200 x 200 pixels
• Article Preview Header: 900 x 500 pixels
• Article Preview Thumbnail Image: 400 x 400 pixels (Displays at 200 x 200 pixels)
• Article Inline Image: 400 px x Any size px

Weibo:
• Cover Image: 920 x 300 px
• Profile Pictures: 200 x 200px (Displays at 100 x 100 px)
• Banner: 560 x 260 px
• Instream: 120 x 120 px
• Contest Preview: 640 x 640 px

Snapchat:
• Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

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Social Media

Facebook wants to show how “inclusive” it is with new logo

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook has a new logo, but you won’t see any change on the mobile app. The social network giant wants to expand to be more inclusive with this logo

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social network facebook typeface

Facebook has a new logo, but you won’t see any change on the mobile app. It’s easy to think of Facebook as just the social network where you avoid (or start) political debates with friends and family, but that’s just a piece of the picture. The new logo reflects Facebook’s ongoing expansion as a company beyond their original social network.

Facebook’s roots as a social networking company are undeniable. People have been using the platform to connect with family and friends across the globe since 2004. For many of us, Facebook is part of our everyday lives. It’s how we chat with friends across the globe, meet our partners, join communities, and sometimes it’s even part of our work life.

We have seen Facebook take on some big new projects this year including the announcement of Facebook Horizon, a social virtual reality world expected to launch in 2020. Facebook’s identity as a company now expands far beyond the Facebook app.

Facebook is the parent company of 74 companies including some equally popular and well-known apps such as Instagram and Whatsapp. The company operates out of 60 offices world-wide and employs over 43,000 people.

The new logo is part of an effort to create a clearer distinction between Facebook the parent company and Facebook the social network.

According to Facebook, “The new company branding is designed to help us better represent the diversity of products we build, establish a distinction from the Facebook app and communicate our purpose in the world.”

Facebook wordmark gif

The main design differences between the two logos are the font and the color. The corporate logo is designed in all caps using a font designed in-house. The type is san serif and open with consistent letter width throughout.

Unlike the true shade of blue that we all associate with the social network’s logo, the color of the new corporate logo will be fluid. The color will change depending on the environment such as the product it’s promoting. The corporate logo can be depicted as either solid colors or a gradient.
Facebook has been more than just a social network for a long time, now their logo can help them reflect that.

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