How the 'Project X'-Riot in Haren, The Netherlands, Could Cost Facebook Dearly
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This happened in a small Dutch suburb called Haren, in the province of Groningen. Last Friday, September 21, this wealthy "estate town" was hit by a hurricane of violence, due to a Project X-party, "fueled by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)," gone awry.
The riot involved hundreds of extremely aggressive youngsters who were fighting with residents of Haren, demolishing cars, and looting and ruining shops. Often they did so while smiling at the cameras and documenting the party: "We’re having a ball! Yeah, cool!"
Dozens of police agents and special riot control units (a.k.a., ME or Mobile Unit in The Netherlands) battled for hours to regain control over the crowd, which had gone berserk. In the end, two people were severely injured; one of them was an old man of 83, who had been beaten with a brick on his head. A few policemen were injured and four youngsters were arrested. Total damage was more than a million euro.
How did this happen?
Merthe, a typical Dutch girl-next-door, decided to organize a "sweet sixteen" party and invited her real friends via Facebook. What she did forget, however, was to tag her party as "private."
Due to the fact that Facebook – in case of a public (i.e., non-private) party – allows invited people to invite people themselves, the number of people planning to go that doomed birthday party grew by the hour. When some popular radio stations in The Netherlands heard the word on the street about the party and started to broadcast the details, the party gained momentum.
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