It’s another example of the FUBAR that can happen simply because people don’t realize that when creating a Facebook event, it defaults to public, so that anyone can see it. On the other hand, one has to believe that those people who jump on such a mistake simply need to find something better to do with their lives.
In Germany, birthday girl Thessa, 16, published an invitation meant for just a few friends, but left the “public” checkbox checked. Because of that, 15,000 people said that they would be there. Naturally, her parents promptly cancelled the party.
That didn’t stop more than more than 1,500 “guests” and 100 police officers showed up at the party. Some of the “attendees” had prepared signs saying “Where is Thessa?” and brought birthday presents and cake.
The “party” went off from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday in Hamburg. Yes, poor Hamburg, already suffering as the epicenter of the E. coli outbreak in Europe, can’t catch a break. It’s not like the authorities there near a crazy party to distract them from helping the ill.
While mostly peaceful, eleven people were temporarily detained and one police officer was injured. Firefighters also had to extinguish two small fires.
In September of 2010, Rebecca Javeleau, 14, made the same mistake as Thessa. Last February, a teenage girl advertised a party for friends in the U.K., and the family’s home was trashed after more than 50 people arrived.
Interestingly, a simple change by Facebook would prevent these mistakes from happening again. If they simply made the check box for “public” events unchecked by default, none of this would happen.