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How the 'Project X'-Riot in Haren, The Netherlands, Could Cost Facebook Dearly

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Will Facebook face tighter restrictions in the eurozone?

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Poor Merthe, who discovered her mistake after the publicity machine started working. She informed the police and the municipality about her invitation and the unintended consequences of it. Her family, as well as the mayor of Haren, tried to convince the general public that the original birthday party was canceled and the city didn't want a Project X-party to be organized in Haren.

Alas, Merthe had, via Facebook, opened a Pandora's Box and thousands of people descended on Haren on Friday, September 21.

What started as a harmless misunderstanding ended up turning into mob violence.

The authorities, the inhabitants, and the insurance companies in Haren are trying to determine the persons liable for damage. This job will probably not be too hard since the event was well photographed and many of the rioters put more pictures and texts on social networks, including Twitter and Facebook.

Fifty people were arrested or turned themselves into the police within a few days. Who were these hooligans?

Unexpectedly, the vast majority were from the (upper-)middle-class, either with good jobs or successfully enrolled in schools, and had no previous police record at all. In other words, the unusual suspects.

Or maybe not so unexpectedly. In the eighties and nineties -- the heyday of football hooliganism in Great Britain, Germany, and The Netherlands -- researchers noticed that most football hooligans had successful day-jobs and a very good income. They went to the football games specifically to rumble and fight (with the violence aimed at the rival team's fans).
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