Are Social Networks Your Home on the Web?

Josh Catone

Here’s a question for you: is your social network profile your home on the web? I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense, I mean that literally. Is your Facebook or MySpace page a legal, if virtual, extension of your actual place of residence? According to a judge in Australia, the answer is yes.

The New Zealand Herald reports that a Canberra lawyer has ruled that Facebook is a suitable delivery method for serving court documents.

Apparently, an Australian court had previously ruled that a couple would lose their home after defaulting on a loan. Unfortunately for the court and the creditors seeking restitution, serving the couple with legal documents necessary to actually seize the home proved difficult by traditional methods. So a judge ruled that that Facebook was a suitable place to serve them with the documents.

The use of Facebook to serve legal documents is believed to be a first, and other Australian courts, as well as those in other countries, are expected to follow suit where needed. Apparently the traditional way to serve legal documents in Australia involves placing a public notice in the local newspaper classifieds section. Facebook is seen as a modern version of that.

“There’s no reason at all why the courts couldn’t get more modern,” said Auckland, New Zealand District Law Society president Keith Berman.

What do you think? Should social networking profiles really be considered a legal extension of your real-world residence? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.