The Facebook party that became a riot

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.

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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.

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?

Average: 4.2 (5 votes)
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Comments

Submitted by Random guy online on Mon, 01/15/2024 - 11:21

why would you get angry when you arrive at a strangers house for a party and there is no party?

Submitted by ahmadjahan on Sat, 06/24/2023 - 06:29

If you ask me, I would definitely say that holding a party and inviting people via social media is a terrible idea and I personally would never send out invitation with the help of Facebook or other social media apps. The best way to do that is to call your friend and ask them to join your party.
good luck

Submitted by pomelo on Mon, 04/10/2023 - 14:29

I don't think Facebook is not the ideal place to party, because it is very inconvenient.
Yes, it's privacy, if you don't secure it properly, you'll be hacked

Submitted by strawberry123_ on Tue, 08/02/2022 - 07:59

I think it`s not a good way to organise a party

Submitted by imcool on Mon, 05/31/2021 - 11:08

no
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Tue, 03/02/2021 - 10:36

As we all see, Facebook is not a good place for sending invitation letters in. I have in account in Facebook but actually I don't use it a lot for entertainment, but most for learning something. I prefer to use Messanger to communicate with my friends and relatives, because Facebook has lots of spam and ad. I am very careful with my privacy settings, because there are so many freaks on the internet. I don't like them.

Submitted by Vuquan on Mon, 09/07/2020 - 13:25

I think facebook is not good to organise a party because maybe there are some people you don't know and it's very dangerous. I think we must careful with the privacy setting on social netwwork.
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Submitted by Giovannichoi on Sat, 04/11/2020 - 23:34

I don't have any Social Network Service ID or accounts, but I think Facebook or the other SNS, such as Instargram, are not availiable to organise a parties especially if it's open-access account. Anyone can see the contents which you uploaded, and they can access to you in SNS. Also, it can be a riot, just like this article, if you upload the invitation of the party and everyone can see that. There are no evidence which they are your friends or family or just not-know people. There can be stockers, terrorists, or lots of thieves. And it is against the law which make a product of someone's face on without he/her permission. Also it is infringement of someone's privacy. So it is not matter if you're making your SNS to be seen whom make friends with you on SNS. But it can be real dangerous it is oppen-access account in your Social Networking Sites.

Submitted by hermione123 on Tue, 01/12/2021 - 09:04

agree with you, Giovannichoi! anyway, i think that's really wise comment.

In reply to by Giovannichoi

Submitted by Elife on Wed, 02/19/2020 - 00:33

Yes, the Facebook is good way to organise a party, because is a social network designed to connect people, also, we live in a generation that is very dependent of social networks. And, Of course!!! I'm careful with privacy settings on social network sites.

Submitted by AlanBach on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 04:54

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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Submitted by Tina - Coordinator on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 15:29

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)

In reply to by AlanBach

Submitted by AlanBach on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 04:43

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

Submitted by Itzel05 on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 02:16

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.

Submitted by AlanBach on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 01:19

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.

Submitted by German on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 00:01

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.

Submitted by AlanBach on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 22:35

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.

Submitted by EDUGAMEZMA on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 22:00

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.

Submitted by Ixchel55 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 20:30

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.

Submitted by Carlosmtz022 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 20:02

A01284313 Yes it’s a good way to organize a party but we need to be more careful who we invite

Submitted by Ixchel55 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 18:08

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.

Submitted by Julio_Arellano on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 18:05

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.

Submitted by Andreacajiga on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 18:04

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

Submitted by majopc1 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 17:46

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.

Submitted by majopc1 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 17:28

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.

Submitted by 2400902 on Sun, 10/06/2019 - 18:12

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.

Submitted by Andreacajiga on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 18:06

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

In reply to by 2400902

Submitted by Ixchel55 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 20:42

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?

In reply to by 2400902

Submitted by AlanBach on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 22:41

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.

In reply to by 2400902

Submitted by AlanBach on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 01:32

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.

In reply to by 2400902

Submitted by A01177237 on Tue, 10/01/2019 - 22:10

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.

Submitted by Julio_Arellano on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 18:07

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

In reply to by A01177237

Submitted by A01284532SOFIA on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 20:27

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.

Submitted by 2400902 on Sun, 10/06/2019 - 18:17

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.

In reply to by A01284532SOFIA

Submitted by majopc1 on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 17:32

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.

In reply to by 2400902

Submitted by A01284908 on Tue, 09/24/2019 - 16:26

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.

Submitted by A01284367 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 21:06

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.

Submitted by AlanBach on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 04:51

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

In reply to by A01284367

Submitted by A01284958 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:41

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.

Submitted by A01285054 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:28

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

Submitted by AlanBach on Tue, 10/08/2019 - 04:52

I agree with you that you have to assume the consequences and responsibility, even so you will have problems with the police or with your parents

In reply to by A01285054

Submitted by A01284085 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:26

Being a teenager and having parties is completely normal, however it's common in these parties to get out of control. One of the ways Merthe could stop the caos were to deleted the invitation or cancell the party in my opinion

Submitted by A01284652 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:26

If you know how to protect your information, organizing a party in Facebook is not a bad idea but it is not the best one. In Facebook, or any social media, the information of the event and your personal information could became public. I always try to be careful with my privacy since I don´t post personal information or make an event on social media.

Submitted by a01284478 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:25

I think it is a good way to organize a party because it is easier the problem is that the party can reach more people and so everyone who wants to attend

Submitted by A01283952 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:24

yes, organize a party via facebook is allowed and it makes the party easier to organize,and change status, report changes. But it depends for each person, and of course being carefull with the privacy settings of your own account and for the event.

Submitted by A01284819 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:18

This article gave me the awareness of how a simple invitation in the social media could cause multiple huge accidents. I also feel bad for Merthe Weusthuis becuase she just wanted to organize a birthday party, but her little mistake of not sending the invitation post as a private post, caused the party to be a public one, which cause accidents like rioters and policemen fighting, cars catching on fire, etc. I hope this doesn´t happen to me, I don´t use Facebook anyways, but by any means I´ll be careful on using social media.
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Submitted by A01284363 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:16

I consider that it is an easy way to organize a party but you need to be careful so it doesn't spread the important information to people you don't know to prevent things like the text happen to you.
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Submitted by Youjiro on Thu, 02/07/2019 - 09:36

I think good way I if know all of acquaintance on the facebook. Reason is organize party using facebook is easiest way I use ever.usage of social media is most common ,people use that as long as they can.disadvantage of using facebook is security and dishonest person.One of my favourite social media is meet up. that is useful enjoy hobby.That is like a social media ,people can attend same hobby group whenever group member organize party.
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Submitted by A01284363 on Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:18

It is great that you consider that there are groups that organize big events and the way it spreads it is okay when it is planned to be a big event.

In reply to by Youjiro

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Submitted by SLMT on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 08:07

I think Facebook is not not a good way to organise a party.However you make sure it is private,Technology these days can make everything possible.Even the password of Facebook account can be hacked these days.Last week,a private Facebook group message of famous actors and actresses is leaked . They were having a gossip about the most famous director and actor.They are being more and more popular because of their gossip chat leaked out.Everything is untrustworthy .That’s why, I always change my Facebook’s password once a month.Protecting is more efficient than curing .
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