Over the past decade, social media has been one of the fastest and most unpredictable
areas of Internet growth. Social media companies and applications appear, explode, and
disappear in the time it would once have taken a startup to get its first product to market.
Many of these platforms serve tiny, niche communities or cater to particular interest groups,
but a few—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for example—have become household names
in the United States and worldwide.
In a recent decision, however, Judge Matthew Cooper of the New York State Supreme Court
tackled the issue of service of process through a private Facebook message, and did so in a
surprisingly direct and uncompromising manner. The decision is worth examining not only
because it makes some new law in an important area, but because it provides an excellent
example of how a court can deal with a complex issue in a rapidly changing field.