We have all heard warnings about what and what not to post through social media, the importance of correct privacy settings, and a reminder that nothing is truly private on the Internet. Here are some hard learned lessons about sending out invitations via social media, specifically Facebook.
The first instance I heard of was in October 2010 in Hertfordshire, England. A 14-year old girl intended to invite 15 friends to her15th birthday party. One important checkbox wasn’t checked and the invitation was available to everyone. Her RSVP list was 21,000…a far cry from the 15 she intended to invite. When she realized what she had done, she cancelled and removed the event. Someone else decided to repost it and police officers were on hand October 7 to turn away those who came to attend.
The next instance was in March this year when a teenager in Chatswood, Australia intended to invite friends to a “small open house party” to celebrate her 16th birthday. This time, the event was not just created without proper privacy settings, but it was also hacked by a 17-year old boy who was later charged by police for the offense. There were 214,000 RSVPs for this party. This went so far that someone printed t-shirts with the girl’s name and her birthday and sold them for $15.50 each.
The most recent instance was one I heard about today. Another teenager, this time near Hamburg, Germany, sent out an invitation to her 16th birthday party without proper privacy settings. Since it was posted as a public event, she also received a ton of RSVPs…15,000. Of those, 1500 people actually showed up to the girl’s house. She tried to cancel the event, and her family even hired a security firm in addition to the 100 police officers to control the crowd. There were 11 arrests for vandalizing property.
Social media is definitely a powerful tool in spreading the word…