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More Social Media Apps are Court Approved to Serve Papers

social-mediaIn 2016 alone, judges made major headlines by announcing their approval of requests to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to serve papers. This is an enormous change from the traditional rules of service of process that require papers to be served in person. Though social media utilization is still limited to only a handful of situations, process servers in Singapore have now been granted permission to move beyond Facebook and Twitter and into the realm of WhatsApp.

The Changing Nature of Social Media

Facebook and Twitter began as sites for college students interested in alternative ways of communicating and sharing their thoughts, but both platforms have transformed into cornerstones of society. Middle schoolers and senior citizens alike are on Facebook now, and Twitter hashtags unite people across the world talking about the same thing. This predominance of social media means that most people can be found on Facebook and Twitter even when their current address or phone number cannot be uncovered.

The WhatsApp, meanwhile, is a newer app that allows smartphone users to connect with their friends and family for free, regardless of their distance. It’s used by more than 1 billion people in over 180 countries, which explains why it has become relevant in process serving.

Requirements for Using Social Media Service

Lawyers and process servers cannot jump straight to providing legal papers through social media outlets. Instead, they must first exhaust all other possibilities, post physical copies of the legal notice on the door of the individual’s last known address, and attempt delivery through registered mail. If all such efforts fail, smartphone messaging platforms become open for use if granted permission by the courts.

Such was the case in October, when R&D Pharmaceuticals was attempting to recover a $43,000 loan from a business partner that continued to evade their service attempts. By matching photographs between the man’s identification card and WhatsApp display picture, R&D was able to confirm his identity and deliver his papers electronically. It worked, and they actually received a response back!