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The Anti-'Social Network'

It is now widely known and accepted that present and prospective employers will check out your Facebook page, to judge your suitability for (continued) employment but Hastings County Court has reportedly (The Telegraph 14.3.11) gone one step further and allowed service of a Court Order via the social networking site.

The Courts have long had the power to allow service by alternative means where an evasive Defendant has managed to elude traditional methods of service, but this latest development shows a willingness by the Courts to embrace new technologies and serves as a further reminder to be careful about what you present to the world on-line.

How this is received will depend on which side of the fence you sit. For the active social networker it is but the latest example of how registering your details on-line can have much wider ranging consequences than was initially imagined. I’m not a user of Facebook myself (before you all run to poke me) for precisely the reasons that I can’t possibly know all the ways in which my personal information will be used or exploited in the future. However, it is another potentially very effective tool in the armoury of our Debt Recovery Department and may help achieve an even higher success rate for its clients. An increasingly digital world makes it more and more likely that your Debtor will put their head above the parapet somewhere, even if it’s only the virtual sense.

Facebook - for the time being – appears firmly established and this little warning is unlikely to have much impact on its members, so I would predict that there is going to be a sharp rise in the use of the site (or others like it) to firstly track and serve Debtors and in the future, who knows...

Interestingly, we have actually had some Facebook litigation; there has been one case where we persuaded Facebook to remove a fake profile purporting to be our client, and I’ve heard of a case where someone has been threatened with a defamation claim for “liking” a comment someone else posted which was alleged to be defamatory.

For information as to how our debt recovery unit may be able to help you contact Lisa Blair on 01952 291222 or email her lisa.blair@lblaw.co.uk.