Judge OKs Service Via Facebook in New York Child Support Case Posted on November 26, 2014 by Sally Nyemba It was unusual that the judge believed that Facebook was an acceptable means of service. A New York judge gave a father the right to complete service of process by serving his ex-wife via Facebook, labeling it as an alternative means of service. Is this beginning of a new acceptable means of service of process? New York Judge Gildeman, a Staten Island Support Magistrate, seemed to believe so, ruling that service via Facebook was necessary and proper in the case of plaintiff Noel Biscocho in a child support matter. Biscocho had been unsuccessful in servomgn his ex-wife Maria Antigua regarding the changes to their child support agreement. The judge ruled that because Antigua was active on her Facebook account, and was constantly “Liking” pictures online, this illustrated that she could be served properly via her Facebook page. Unusual ruling Judge Gildeman justified the ruling by highlighting other states such as Virginia that had utilized Facebook as a means of service. Furthermore, his decision stated that “due to Biscocoh’s failed service attempts upon Antigua, the law afforded him another remedy in order to assure that service could still be completed.” The fact that Gildeman believed that Facebook was an acceptable means of service is unusual. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outline numerous methods to complete service of process upon an individual and Facebook is not one of them. As an alternative means of service, Facebook could possibly cause controversy in our legal system and diminish uniformity . The issue with using Facebook as an alternative means of service is that there is no true guarantee that the account upon which service is made, actually belongs to the potential defendant. FTC uses Facebook For example, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled in Joe Hand Promotions Inc. v. Shepard, “Although the FTC used Facebook as a means of supplemental service, it was not the only means of service, and the court expressed doubt that Facebook alone would satisfy due process. (“anyone can make a Facebook profile using real, fake, or incomplete information, and thus, there is no way for the Court to confirm whether the Facebook page belongs to the defendant to be served.”).”Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Shepard, No. 4:12CV1728 SNLJ, 2013 WL 4058745, at *1 (2012). Furthermore, electronic service of process is available in federal practice only under [Rule] 4(f)(3) … in the context of ‘Serving an Individual in a Foreign Country’”). This case indisputably involves a domestic defendant, so Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(f)(3) is inapplicable. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e) does not permit electronic mail as a means of substituted service unless the state where the action is brought permits it Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Shepard, No. 4:12CV1728 SNLJ, 2013 WL 4058745, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 12, 2013) This case took place in a state court more specifically, a family court. Rule 4(f)(3), only allows for electronic service upon individuals in a foreign country. There was no evidence that Antigua was located in a foreign country, but rather was situated her in the U.S. Additionally, the judge added, “Facebook had not been used as a means of service in New York state court.” Therefore, it appears that service of process through Facebook, in the state of New York, may have been a violation of Antigua’s Due Process rights. There is no rule governing electronic mail as an alternative means of service for domestic citizens in the state of New York, thus proper service has not been completed.