Another answer vaguely mentions that "some jurisdictions" even allow process service over social media. This is interesting. What jurisdictions does this include?
No jurisdiction of which I am aware allows for service of process to be made via social media as a matter of course.
But some jurisdictions (indeed, almost all U.S. jurisdictions) allow what is called "substituted service" by a means not usually allowed in cases where it would normally not be permitted if service can not be obtained by standard means of personal delivery to the person being served, or personal delivery to someone else authorized by court rule or statute to accept service on behalf of the person being served, that is reasonably calculated to provide actual notice to a defendant.
In Colorado, for example, the usual means of making service of process are set forth in Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 4(e), but Colorado Rule of Civl Procedure 4(f) allows a party seeking to serve someone with process who has made duly diligent efforts to do so via the Rule 4(e) methods to instead serve process by a customized means set forth in Rule 4(f) which states:
(f) Substituted Service. In the event that a party attempting service of process by personal service under section (e) is unable to accomplish service, and service by publication or mail is not otherwise permitted under section (g), the party may file a motion, supported by an affidavit of the person attempting service, for an order for substituted service. The motion shall state (1) the efforts made to obtain personal service and the reason that personal service could not be obtained, (2) the identity of the person to whom the party wishes to deliver the process, and (3) the address, or last known address of the workplace and residence, if known, of the party upon whom service is to be effected. If the court is satisfied that due diligence has been used to attempt personal service under section (e), that further attempts to obtain service under section (e) would be to no avail, and that the person to whom delivery of the process is appropriate under the circumstances and reasonably calculated to give actual notice to the party upon whom service is to be effective, it shall:
(1) authorize delivery to be made to the person deemed appropriate for service, and
(2) order the process to be mailed to the address(es) of the party to be served by substituted service, as set forth in the motion, on or before the date of delivery. Service shall be complete on the date of delivery to the person deemed appropriate for service.
Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 4(g) provides for service of process by mailing and publication in certain in rem lawsuits (e.g. a quiet title action to determine who owns real property), but "publication" in that rule has a statutorily defined definition of what publications count for service by publication and that excludes social media.
Substituted service orders are routinely issued by Australian courts
The first was in 2010 for service via Facebook.
To get an order you must demonstrate:
- Service is impractical
- Reasonable efforts have been made
- That the document will come to the attention of the person if served by an alternate method
They are particularly common in family law matters.