party

Facebook parties could be banned in Germany

July 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM ET

Stefan Simonsen / AP /
Party-goers gather in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, June 3, 2011, after a teenage girl, identified only as Thessa, forgot to mark her birthday invitation as private on Facebook. The teenager ran away from her own party when more than 1,500 guests showed up and around 100 police officers with horses had to keep the party crowd under control.

Thessa didn't mark her "Sweet 16" party invite on Facebook as "private," and 15,000 people RSVP'd last month to the German girl's invite, with more than 1,600 actually showing up at her house — or on the street near her house, anyway.

And it was quite a party, although the honoree went into hiding as her parents called police; more than 100 were needed to monitor the throng. Now Germany wants to ban such public invites on Facebook, whether intentional or not.

It's not just because of Thessa's Facebook faux pas. Another such invite last month, meant as private, but appearing on Facebook as open to all, brought 800 revelers to the town of Wuppertal. The gathering resulted in a "drunken slugfest that involved 41 arrests, 16 injuries and an obscene amount of property damage, costing upwards of about $170,000 of taxpayer money," according to AllFacebook.com.

“If public safety and order are endangered, then Facebook parties will have to be banned beforehand,” Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Uwe Schünemann said in comments made to a German newspaper and shared on The Local, which publishes Germany's news in English.

Schünemann also wants to see an "Internet driving license" introduced in schools to explain Facebook's hazards, and have local authorities bill parents for the law enforcement costs associated with monitoring and cleaning up such events.

But the logistics of monitoring Facebook — which has 19 million users in Germany — could be quite overwhelming for authorities.

“A blanket ban is too simplistic,” Dieter Wiefelsputz, of the Social Democrats party, was quoted as saying in The Telegraph.

“Only in justified cases, when riots are predictable should a ban be imposed."

He and other German politicians agree a saner approach is to "educate young people about the dangers and potential costs of an out-of-control party.”

— Via AllFacebook

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