How did a quiet 16th birthday celebration turn into a full-scale riot? Read this to find out what happened when a Dutch teenager made a Facebook error.

Reading

The Facebook party that became a riot

It began as a plan for a very normal 16th birthday party. Merthe Weusthuis wanted a quiet celebration with a small group of friends in her family home in the small Dutch town of Haren. Like many teenagers, she decided to send out invitations via a social network site. But Merthe made one big mistake: she used open-access settings on Facebook, so it wasn’t just her friends who could see details of the event, lots of strangers could too.

The number of invitation acceptances quickly snowballed into an avalanche. Not marking the event as ‘private’ meant the electronic invitation was eventually seen by 240,000 people, of whom 30,000 confirmed online that they planned to attend. To make matters worse, an unauthorised campaign was launched to promote the party by means of a dedicated website and Twitter account, which received hundreds of thousands of hits. The party become known as ‘Project X Haren’ after the 2012 American film Project X in which three high school students throw a birthday party that spins out of control. Video trailers for Merthe’s party were produced, with scenes from Project X edited in, and they were posted on YouTube. T-shirts featuring Merthe’s face were also made, all without her knowledge or consent.

Even after Merthe’s parents had cancelled the party, the publicity didn’t stop. Local media reported on the forthcoming event and teenagers turned up to have their pictures taken outside the Weusthuis family home. On the evening the party was to have taken place, about 5,000 teenagers began gathering in Haren, many outside the Weusthuis house. When it became clear that there was nothing to gatecrash, violence broke out and 500 riot police equipped with helmets, shields and batons were brought in to control the crowd. Shops in the centre of Haren were vandalised and looted, journalists were attacked, cars were set on fire or overturned and street signs and lamp posts were damaged.

However, Facebook was also involved in the clean-up effort in the days after the riot. A group called ‘Project Clean-X Haren’ was set up to gather and organise volunteers. Another group named ‘Suspect-X Haren’ was created to help police identify and arrest the rioters by sharing photos and videos of the event.

A number of other 'Facebook parties’ have spiralled out of control, including the 16th birthday party of British teenager Bradley McAnulty in April 2012. Bradley had not posted details of the event on the internet, and had been careful to ask his friends not to, but somehow the news leaked out and appeared on Blackberry Messenger as well as Facebook. More than 400 gatecrashers invaded his family home in Poole, Dorset, causing extensive damage.

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Discussion

Is Facebook a good way to organise a party? Why or why not?
Are you careful with your privacy settings on social network sites?

Comments

AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 8 October, 2019 - 05:54

Rafael Ignacio
It is a social network designed to connect people, that is, share information, news and audiovisual content with friends and family. It is the largest and most popular social platform of all existing today. Its privacy policies in recent years, make many people consider the security of publishing in it.

The positive things you can do your party on Facebook is the amount of people who can know the event, you will be in the news you can become famous for a few days, you may know more people and have a great time

But as there is always a positive side, there is a negative side, the bad side and I think it can happen series that many people come, you can not control and it is a total chaos that the street ends disaster to your house.

In my opinion it is very father to create these events on Facebook because it is another way to make the parties, to organize them, but your privacy is totally lost also that it would be total chaos and you will not know how to control that.

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Tina - Coordinator's picture
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Tina - Coordinator 8 October, 2019 - 16:29

Hi AlanBach 
Welcome to LearnEnglish Teens! Please can you create separate accounts for each user? In our House Rules we ask you not to share your account with other people. Thanks a lot and I hope you all enjoy the site! :)
Tina (LearnEnglish Teens team)

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AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 8 October, 2019 - 05:43

Andry Stortoni
Today, although the majority of users who surf the Internet know what Facebook is and how it works, and it does not surprise me, since Facebook has today with more than 2.4 billion users throughout the world . It is a red used by people of very wide age ranges

The positive things about the organization of the party is the social thing that can do to you, the father that can happen to you with friends and to be very well known to people like at school.

The negative of this is that your privacy is totally lost, there are already people that you don't know in your house, they can steal and destroy the house because you have no control of the people who enter and you no longer know what to do

In my opinion it is very father to create these events on Facebook because it is another way to make the parties, to organize them, but your privacy is totally lost, but it will be a day you never forget

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Itzel05's picture
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Itzel05 8 October, 2019 - 03:16

Facebook is a platform that helps us to know other people, for searching interesting things or even organize a party. The purpose for Facebook is to create comunities and bring the world closer. Mexico is the 5th state with the highest number users of facebook in the world.
In favor its used with freedom and responsability as other social red, but the disadvantage is when users don’t take the rights precautions.
About the question , the advantages to organize a party are that you can know who will attend your party, your party can become bigger, you can contact people you haven’t seen in years.
The disadvantages are if you are not carefull, it can be shared with others, the party would be a disaster, there would be no control.
I believe that Facebook is not a good option to organized a party because always there is something that doesn’t work.
I think a better option to organized a party is in whatsApp.

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AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 8 October, 2019 - 02:19

Emiliano Delgado

Facebook is one of the most influential social networks in history and it is one of the biggest enterprises of the world. It is known that more than half of the worlds population uses facebook.

In recent years, Facebook has allowed its users to connect and create more than friend relationships, such as having groups, creating events, amongst other things. This last one is one that has been really popular and flexible for those who want to make an event because with just with the click of a button you can invite all your friends to an event that you are organizing such as a party. Although with benefits come disadvantage, because privacy is a constant issue that Facebook has, because anyone can access your information even though your profile is private. So it is strongly recommended that if you are planning an event on Facebook you don’t put much information on it so that no one can access your information.

Facebook has proven to be the people’s social network and has connected millions of people, and although it has progressed within the years, it is recommended we also take care of our privacy and our information online.

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German's picture
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German 8 October, 2019 - 01:01

Facebook its the most important social media in the world, really biggest like instagram or whats app of course all of them its by Mark zuckerberg, student of HARVARD UNIVERSITY.
This social media its perfect because has all that we need, for a example...if you met a new person just say your username and start talking in a bubble chat or if you like the party, you can put a event with all your friends and enjoy fantastic days
Facebook turns a part of all of us but not all its magic....The fake people its one negative thing in this social media you don´t know about the people of other places but they can talk with you. Maybe its a amazing place but always taking a username low.

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AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 7 October, 2019 - 23:35

Facebook is a social network created by Mark Zuckerberg while studying at Harvard University. Its objective was to design a space in which the students of said university could exchange a fluid communication and share content easily through the Internet. His project was so innovative that it extended over time to be available to any network user. It is the most massive of social networks and as such, the first alternative that many companies consider when participating in social networks.

The good things you can do to organize a party on Facebook would be that the party might go viral and that many people go to your party and have an amazing time with people you just met and that is the party of the year.

Negative points of organizing your party on Facebook would be that if it goes viral, many people will go and it would be a total chaos apart from that the place where the party takes place would be a total chaos and in the end it would be very dirty and if it is in your home you could even steal things or break and you don't realize it.

I think it is very incredible to organize a party on Facebook because people who do not know how to be more social can go, I would organize a party on Facebook but the problem of doing this, you will no longer have privacy because people will know your street and they can rob you or destroy your household items. I would do it in a separate room, large and not find many things to break, it would be very cool.

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EDUGAMEZMA's picture
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EDUGAMEZMA 7 October, 2019 - 23:00

Facebook is a good way to advertise events, yet it is always key to watch out for our privacy statuses - this Dutch teen who organized a party did not measure the consequences of the event he´d be organizing given that he did not set the invitation to a private standard. We must be careful of whatever we post on the internet these days, we are the only ones who can be held accountable for our own actions.

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Ixchel55's picture
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Ixchel55 7 October, 2019 - 21:30

In the past organziag parties was very difficult because of the distances or the times to see your family is complicated.
Actually live in a generation that uses these tools to facilitate activities of daily life, so using Facebook is an excellent option to organiez a party because it's simpler and faster, however the private information used by Facebook isn't secure and hasn't control.
In my opinion the controlled use social networks is the solution.

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Carlosmtz022's picture
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Carlosmtz022 7 October, 2019 - 21:02

A01284313

Yes it’s a good way to organize a party but we need to be more careful who we invite

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Ixchel55's picture
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Ixchel55 7 October, 2019 - 19:08

In the past organziag parties was very difficult because of the distances or the times to see your family is complicated.
Actually live in a generation that uses these tools to facilitate activities of daily life, so using Facebook is an excellent option to organiez a party because it's simpler and faster, however the private information used by Facebook isn't secure and hasn't control.
In my option the controlled use social networks is the solution.

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Julio_Arellano's picture
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Julio_Arellano 7 October, 2019 - 19:05

Facebook is an application through which you can find out about news, upload your mood, post memes, share videos of all your tastes and create friendships and conversations.
The pros is that through the party that the children were planning they posted it on Facebook and it was a success since many people shared it and published it so that more and more people went to the party.
The cons of course is that many people saw the publication since thousands and thousands of people use this application, with this application you can with one click share a publication and in this case it was the biggest and uncontrolled party of a long time.
My conclusion is that Facebook is an excellent application to find out and share what you want but also everything in excess is bad, in this case the party was uncontrolled because many people shared it and it was a total lack of control but there is no doubt that this Application is an easier way to be able to talk and move people.

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Andreacajiga's picture
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Andreacajiga 7 October, 2019 - 19:04

Facebook is a social network to share events, share photos, disseminate any type of information.
It is a very good way to share events since it is more efficient however you have to be very careful with the details about privacy.
I personally have all my private accounts because I do not like people to know about private life and I always try not to give much information about me because really nothing is private I have more privacy in real life than on facebook

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majopc1's picture
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majopc1 7 October, 2019 - 18:46

Facebook is a social media that no nowadays is the one of the most dangerous app to be hacked. It exists a lot of people that dedicate their life to that and that’s why it’s a disadvantage to use that because your information won’t be save.
In my opinion organizing a party on Facebook isn’t a good way to invite you friends, because all is exposed even if you put it in private.
It’s dangerous because exists people that are fake and they are bad, so why don’t you invite people in person, sending each one message or creating a group on WhatsApp that is more personal?
Don’t doing that is a mistake that most of the teenagers do that should stop doing that because there are bad consecuences like in the reading.
I’m a person that is always careful with privacy always, since I had my first social media and thanks to that nothing bad has happened to me.

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majopc1's picture
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majopc1 7 October, 2019 - 18:28

In my opinion organizing a party on Facebook isn’t a good way to invite you friends, because all is exposed even if you put it in private.
It’s dangerous because exists people that are fake and they are bad, so why don’t you invite people in person, sending each one message or creating a group on WhatsApp that is more personal?
Don’t doing that is a mistake that most of the teenagers do that should stop doing that because there are bad consecuences like in the reading.
I’m a person that is always careful with privacy always, since I had my first social media and thanks to that nothing bad has happened to me.

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2400902's picture
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2400902 6 October, 2019 - 19:12

We live in a generation that is very dependent on the use of social networks, and a very clear example is to organize events or parties through these platforms.
But as we have the confidence that our data is protected or know for sure who can see it and who cannot see it, because if this information is known by many or people that can cause damage it is very dangerous
Because we do not have full control of the platform and if you are not the only one who can see it and share it with more people if it can be dangerous.
Or if events are organized they have to have some control over those who see it and know more about the security of the platforms
From my point of view, social networks such as Facebook is not the best option to organize a party since you do not have total control of the information.

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AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 8 October, 2019 - 02:32

I agree with your opinion because in fact, we do not have control over the social network and we can’t certainly choose who can see what we post and who can’t, that’s why doing events or parties through these is efficient, but insecure.

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AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 7 October, 2019 - 23:41

I totally agree with you that today, what society uses are social networks and that if they organize events but privacy is a big problem.

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Ixchel55's picture
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Ixchel55 7 October, 2019 - 21:42

I think, you have a very good idea, however, if you use the Internet and social networks for everything, why not improve things that are not well and continue to progress with the help of tools like this?

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Andreacajiga's picture
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Andreacajiga 7 October, 2019 - 19:06

I am agree with you because we don’t have a full control of the plataform and we don’t know what fb do with our information

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A01177237's picture
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A01177237 1 October, 2019 - 23:10

I think the usage of social media in a controlled manner, could potentially be a very good way to organize an event of any kind, but the inappropriate way it was implemented as in the reading above, proves how easily can things get out of control when kids/teens use it without any regulation or whatsoever. I am indeed very careful with my social media, I really feel very uncomfortable having people i really don't know on being an active part in my life, by seeing and watching what I do on a daily basis.

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Julio_Arellano's picture
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Julio_Arellano 7 October, 2019 - 19:07

I liked it very much because it is absolutely right since this application is a two-edged sword, very well expressed and very good language

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A01284532SOFIA's picture
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A01284532SOFIA 25 September, 2019 - 21:27

After reading this, I conclude that Facebook is not a good utility to organize a small party. I think a better option would have been to use WhatsApp, and make a group chat, with only the people you know, and would have liked for them to go to your party.

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2400902's picture
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2400902 6 October, 2019 - 19:17

The WhatsApp application is private and from my point of view more secure in many aspects because only your contacts or the people you add will be able to know about your event.

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majopc1's picture
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majopc1 7 October, 2019 - 18:32

I agree with you, I think whatsapp is the best option to organize an event because you have the choice to invite the people you want and be careful that no one you don’t like go to, I’ve never had a problem with it.

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A01284908's picture
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A01284908 24 September, 2019 - 17:26

In my opinion I think that Facebook is not a secure website where you can organize a party because it can easily be spread over the network because they can share the post with your friends and strangers and for this type of event you share very important personal data to strangers, such as your address, your cell phone, name, etc. If you are going to organize a party on Facebook, do it at your own risk, carefully and with great caution.

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A01284367's picture
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A01284367 23 September, 2019 - 22:06

I would rather use social media, because everyone use it now days, and you can always use a list and security if you don't want unexpected visitors, is easy.

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AlanBach's picture
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AlanBach 8 October, 2019 - 05:51

I agree with you to use a list to have more control of the people who enter and have greater security who enters and who sees your information

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A01284958's picture
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A01284958 23 September, 2019 - 21:41

I believe Facebook is a great way to organize a party, or any event you want to plan. You can just put all the information required to assist to the event, and then invite your friends. Facebook sends them a notification, and they determine if they will be able to go, if they can't, or if they haven't decided yet. No matter if your event is small, or very big, Facebook Events can handle it in a very efficient way.
Yes i am careful with my privacy in social media.

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A01285054's picture
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A01285054 23 September, 2019 - 21:28

I think that those people who caused this disorder should be aware of what they did, accept the consequences and avoid having more problems.

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