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Germany Considers Banning Wild Facebook Parties 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the shut-it-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wild Facebook parties tend to occur when a Facebook Event invitation to a typical small gathering is mistakenly posted publicly, and then goes viral. This results in injuries and arrests as hundreds or even thousands show up for a party meant for a handful of people. A recent wave of these out-of-control Facebook parties has left German officials and politicians trying to figure how to deal with the trend."
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Germany Considers Banning Wild Facebook Parties

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  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:55PM (#36679262)
    ....Germany would already have laws in place for out-of-control parties.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      ....Germany would already have laws in place for out-of-control parties.

      Huh? Really? [oktoberfest.de]

      • I don't think that's the kind of "party" he's talking about.
      • It's perfectly controlled.

        And that wasn't the type of party I meant...

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          It's perfectly controlled.

          My bad, a confusion... I intended to make a reference [wikipedia.org] to Love parade 2010 [guardian.co.uk]

          And that wasn't the type of party I meant...

          I know... just teasing. Even the reference to the too-tightly-controlled Love Parade 2010 doesn't mean I think of Germany as a country were such incidents happens on regular basis and nobody cares.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, the one with the mustaches and high fives.

    • by BluBrick (1924) <blubrick@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:32AM (#36679500) Homepage
      Godwinned in one post. I'm impressed!
    • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:59AM (#36679620)

      I agree. They probably do. Any event that has a 10,000 people RSVP'ing to it, would probably require a permit or something, and the appropriate number of porta-potties. Worst case scenario, have the small hosting city ban public parking on the surrounding streets for that day, call in hundreds of private tow trucks, and sell a couple of permits for hot dog vendors and what not.

      That's what some cities do here in the US for some football games, and there is great deal of cash that's generated from the towing alone. The city could also temporarily close some streets for non-residents, and direct the traffic to its nearest commercial district instead. Some businesses would probably love the extra traffic (assuming it knew about it ahead of time).

    • by dov_0 (1438253)
      Of the top of my head, I think the Nazi party is the only sort which is banned outright.
    • We have.

      The statements mentioned here were made by a bunch of politicians who don't know their own laws!

      BTW: those - perhaps two - parties that went "viral" mostly went viral because the tabloids reprinted screenshots of the facebook events to make sure anyone and his dog can find them online.

  • What's next? Banning cars to stop drunk driving? Go after the people who create a public disturbance, if necessary.
    • Aren't there already laws against things like disturbing the peace? Showing up at someone's party and harassing them surely qualifies. If they really try to ban facebook public parties, some group like anonymous will be on top of it.
  • ...they called it the Arab spring...

  • Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:04AM (#36679314)

    Ban politicians from making ridiculous unenforceable bans.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by raddan (519638) *
      STACK OVERFLOW ERROR.
    • What, you don't think drawing a whole bunch of attention to an issue is a good way to deal with it? Now that's crazy talk. If everybody knows about the parties, then of course they'll stop happening; that's common sense.
    • by antdude (79039)

      Nah, ban humans from Earth. :)

    • Re:Solution (Score:5, Informative)

      by Asic Eng (193332) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:57AM (#36679898)

      This is all part of the German silly season ("Sommerloch") - a period in summer when many political institutions are on vacation, so politicians which would normally be ignored can make it into the news - just because nobody important is active.

      The statements in the article were all by conservatives in Germany (CDU + CSU). Given that it's interesting that Dorothee Baer - secretary general of the CSU - has asked that "comments about the Internet should be made only by those who are familiar with it". Sound advice.

      And no, Germany is not considering banning facebook parties, this is just an attempt by some politicians to get noticed.

      • This is all part of the German silly season ("Sommerloch") - a period in summer when many political institutions are on vacation

        Yeah, this used to be called "saure Gurken Zeit" [wikipedia.org], but for some reason this season took place a little bit early [wordpress.com] this year...

      • by bfandreas (603438)
        How does this make the front page on ./?
        This back bencher initiative is typical politico blathering and wasn't even seriously reported on in the yellow press.
        Some fool will suggest that whoever invited via FB should shoulder the cost. Thankfully, this is not how Germany works.
        • by F-3582 (996772)
          Actually, the tabloids (okay, mostly BILD) did the best they could in order to escalate those parties by supplying Facebook links, date, time and address of some of those parties to their readers. And of course they sent some of their own reporters, too. Servicewüste Deutschland my ass!
          • by bfandreas (603438)
            They briefly reported on Spiegel Online and nearly immediately filed it under "irrelevant".
            Regional backbenchers. Meh!
  • Really, I hate FB as much as the next poster, but how is this a Facebook problem? Didn't happened before Facebook? -- Happens the same here every time a girl meets some random guy thanks to facebook $crime_happens and everyone blames Facebook.

    Anyway.. those must be some hardcore parties there (cue references to German porn)

    • Because facebook defaults for privacy are getting more and more open.

      Germany could implement a law that by default parties are "Invite only" and "Guests may not invite people."

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Germany could implement a law that by default parties are "Invite only" and "Guests may not invite people."

        The sad thing is that laws could be needed for that... while this simply are the only reasonable defaults for an event for publication on a site like Facebook. With making it any more open preferably only possible after posting the event, by having to explicitly change related options. Maybe not convenient, but preventing a lot of trouble.

      • Actually you have the option to allow somebody to enter your private property or to send him away (and call the police if he doesn't go). Even if you invited him. The few events I remember where parties really went mad was, when parents let have the kids the house (or where away for other reasons) and the kids simply lost control. Anyway: As pointed out by Asic Eng, around this time of the year we have to cope with less popular politicians using the opportunity to get media attention.
        • or to send him away

          Doesn't help if 5000 people show up. They'll just party outside of the door, drinking their own beer, and inconveniencing the neighbors...

          (and call the police if he doesn't go)

          And if you don't call police, your neighbors will... which is exactly what happened here, but who'll pay the bill?

          • Yes, 5,000 would be a problem. The police wouldn't be prepared for that. They would have to call in reinforcements from other towns first. Even 500 people drunk enough could become dangerous if the situation gets out of control.
            The bill in this case would be the taxpayers burden in Germany. That's what we pay taxes for (one reason), the police protecting our health and property. They could try to get some money back from the illegal party goers. At least those who don't follow police orders to leave the p
  • Germans LOVE David Hasselhoff.
  • It's no different from slapping "Open Party" banners on signposts and having 5,000 people turn up - I'm pretty sure the police would hold you responsible for the turnout and any resulting carnage.

    As such, why not make the host responsible for posting an open party invite? A few hefty fines for likely convince people to make events private unless they really mean it.

    Facebook should also do more to encourage private events... but that's another story.

    • Closer to making 20 invites at your local Copy Shop and accidentally leaving the master on the machine when some stranger stumbles upon it takes it and makes 100,000 copies.

      At least with facebook they can be forced to change the default settings.

      • Not really. An open facebook invite could show up in anybodies feed, and most people take "Open Invitation" to mean "I can go if I want".

        A lot of people actually organize open parties like this intentionally, and so a lot of people assume an open invitation is designed to handle larger numbers of people.

      • Closer to making 20 invites at your local Copy Shop and accidentally leaving the master on the machine when some stranger stumbles upon it takes it and makes 100,000 copies.

        Even better, a copy machine that makes 20 invite copies for you, then another 100,000 copies that it gives out one-by-one to all subsequent customers. Unless, of course, you knew that you now needed to turn off that particular copy machine "give-everybody-a-copy" feature.

    • by smurfsurf (892933)

      In that particular case some weeks ago, the girl noticed her mistake, closed the post and cancel her party. People found it "funny" to show up regardless. Her parents had to hire private security for their home, massive police presence to close the street and control the hundreds that came (even from far away).

      Some further notes:

      1) The police is opposing the "ban it" back-seat politicians, they say it is not feasible.

      2) The boulevard press jumped on the bandwagon and accelerated events by persistent reporti

  • Dear German Authorities,

    Send a bill for damages and legal costs to anyone too stupid to figure out how to set their event privacy settings to something other than 'everyone'. After the first few college kids see their lives vaporize into a black sucking hole of wage garnishments and crappy housing options, they'll cry and moan about it on facebook, thus solving your problem. That's how we do it here, and it's worked out pretty well for us so far.

    Sincerely,

    Some Bitchy American

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:50AM (#36679852)

      I just checked myself: Facebook by default enables the "Anyone can view and RSVP (public event)" option. That should be disabled by default. It is easy enough to forget to untick that one... type your birthday invitation, when you're done mum calls "dinner's ready!", quickly finish up, click "post", off to dinner.

      It's just plainly ridiculous that an event is public by default. And I'm sure that's a major part of the cause of these unintended mass parties. Now if Facebook becomes more sensible in these matters, then I'm all for your ideas. Until then, Facebook is definitely one to carry part of the blame.

      • How hard would it be for Facebook to do some elementary background check on a submission, and put up a warning for any public event of the "Do you really mean to do that" variety? For all the bloviating above, the moral of this story is that Facebook actually has some piss-poor programming practices. It's only beginners who don't validate and sanity check user input. Who is reviewing this stuff at Facebook? Anyone over 30?
      • I just checked myself: Facebook by default enables the "Anyone can view and RSVP (public event)" option. That should be disabled by default. It is easy enough to forget to untick that one... type your birthday invitation, when you're done mum calls "dinner's ready!", quickly finish up, click "post", off to dinner.

        That's why I use email for my birthday party invitations.

        And the best thing about that: I can even invite people who are NOT signed up to facebook! And even better: It even works when they have another email provider than the one I use! Can you imagine that? That's so AMAZING, I'm sure email is going to be the Next Big Thing! (Joking aside: that could be the best feature in google+)

  • they're just mad because they never get invited.

  • This seems to be a symptom of Facebook's lax security policies, more than anything else. By default, just about anything you ever post or do on Facebook should be restricted to authorized people (e.g., friends or even smaller groups). Posting something that is visible to the internet or to large numbers of people should be difficult unless you've explicitly tailored your settings to be more public than the defaults.

    But, of course, Facebook wants everything to be as public as possible.

    Politicians in TF

  • by mseeger (40923) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @03:02AM (#36680144)

    This has nothing to do with facebook parties. There is an ongoing conflict between the current political caste and the internet community. Since the politicians managed to antagonize nearly all net activists with a law about net blocks (which never went into effect), the net has now become a dangerous mine field for politicians.

    A net initiative toppled lately several high ranking politicians who have been discovered to have cut&pasted their PHD thesis. Among them was the secretary of defense who was a media darling and earmarked to become the next conservative chancellor (candidate).

    Facebook parties are no real problem (i heard about 4 instances which became problematic in the last 24 months, about half of them have been unintentionally). So such a law will have no effect, especially since current laws already cover the area.

    But it is a great opportunity for politicians to designate the internet as source of evil and to demonstrate their boldness by stepping forward and putting an end to it.

    CU, Martin

    • Since the politicians managed to antagonize nearly all net activists

      Now they really need to watch out! Somebody might start an online petition

      • by mseeger (40923)

        Has already been done. It was the petition with the most signatories in german history. The politicians didn't get it anyway.

        It is possibe in Germany to have an online petition that is an official petition to the parliament. They wer confused (for about 5s), smiled and dismissed it. But due to the number of petitioners, they at least had to do it in public.

  • blitzkeg (Score:5, Funny)

    by cicatrix1 (123440) <cicatrix1 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 07, 2011 @03:38AM (#36680296) Homepage
    Wild Facebook parties tend to occur when a Facebook Event invitation to a typical small gathering is mistakenly posted publicly, and then goes viral.

    This effect shall herefore be known as 'blitzkeg'.
  • The Irony I posted an open orgy and no one came...
  • Some politicians try to improve their ratings among their voters by shouting around a little bit.

    The suggestions are mostly laughed at, and even their political friends usually are not impressed.

    A law against a more or less spontaneous party of many persons with "nobody" in charge (or somebody who unintentionally invited the people) will be difficult to forbid.

    For anything else (commercial events, political demonstrations etc.) there are rules already.

    Germans are allowed to assemble in public (paragraph 22

  • Simplest solution?

    If the 'reveal' is misuse, charge the people holding the party for the FULL cost of the event, and hold them (as any party-holder would be) legally responsible for the consequences of the party.

    If the revelation was through a technical flaw in the social software, hold Facebook (or whomever) responsible.

    One can't idiot-proof the world, only establish chains of causality and let people/companies respond to the incentives/disincentives that exist.

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      That would mitigate the cost, but the people who end up having 1000 "guests" turn up don't acvtually mean to. They're really victims here (albeit of their own incompetence). A rule that prevents people from making the mistake in the first place is better than one that penalises people for doing so. It's not like people choose to be incompetent.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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