Facebook RSVP Gone Wrong!

“A 14-year-old girl from Hertfordshire who included her address on a Facebook invitation to her party was alarmed when 21,000 said they would be coming.”

This is a quote from an article I found on the BBC news website.

According to the article, after a girl posted her birthday as an event on facebook she received 21, 000 RSVP’s of strangers who confirmed their attendance to the party. The 14-year-old had posted the details of her address in the invite. The event was promptly cancelled and police will be stationed in the area of the girl’s residence on October the 7th to provide a ‘reassuring presence.’

However after this original event was deleted, another was set up, (not created by the girl herself) which also included her home address. Although this time, a mere nineteen people have confirmed there attendence.

The blame of this incident was put on facebook’s ‘overcomplicated’ privacy settings and how it is an easy mistake to make your personal events visible to the whole world.

For the whole article, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-11376350

EDIT: An interesting development; it seems most of the people I have spoken to are in agreement that it was mainly the girl’s fault and that she should have been more careful. However, there is still the argument that everyone just takes privacy settings for granted nowadays and that facebook’s settings are overcomplicated.

However, it clearly was foolish of the girl to put her home address on the original invite, although I doubt she anticipated the consequences of her actions to be so alarming.


8 Responses

  1. Hmm… “The blame of this incident was on facebook’s ‘overcomplicated’ privacy settings and how it is an easy mistake to make your personal events visible to the whole world” – I don’t quite think so!

    The blame should be with the user herself. The new privacy settings are not that complicated to understand, I reckon there is quite a high chance that she knew what she was doing. She has the popularity she was after and now it’s come back to bite her in the behind.
    Sorry guys, I’m in one of those judgemental moods at the moment 😉 but this article does raise a series of questions. How old should you have to be to use / fully understand the consequences of using social networking sites to organise events? Should Facebook enforce parental controls to the site? Also, where is the “Panic button” that Facebook promised a few months back?

    • Hmm, I’m not too sure about that. I was quoting from the article itself and I do think it is something easy to overlook.
      I agree that it IS possible she was attention seeking but I’m sure that this isn’t an isolated case. There are bound to be people who overlook things like privacy settings that are so often taken for granted.

      • Personally, I’m not too cautious with the privacy settings; not because they are too complicated but because I’ plainly lazy (mainly because I take them for granted) . So if something like this were to happen to me, I would have to take the blame, and I think this girl should too. Whether she was looking for a viral internet stunt or was plainly stupid, I don’t know, but I think it all worked out quite well for her.

  2. When i read this article it reminded me of a similar story from a couple of years back, but this time on myspace, so i looked it up and found the article for anyone interested! –


  3. I was reading about this the other day and someone had commented on the article ‘this is why people under the age of 18 should not use facebook.’
    I was very resentful of this comment as I certainly know that at I would not have posted my address for all to see on facebook when I was younger. Certainly a lack of judgement on her part!

  4. I agree that some people do overlook things like the privacy settings, yes, but is this due to laziness or is the website so complicated to manoeuvre that a “child” should not be using or, in effect, should not be trusted to use Facebook to organise a party at her house? Only 15 people were originally going to be asked, surely she could just ask them at school and surely they know where she lives? It’s quite easy to select “Private event” and it’s relatively simple to set your profile to “completely private” but I do agree that Facebook should re-introduce the “opt out” of “completely private” mode, instead of making everyone’s profile public and forcing people to figure out a way to “privatise” themselves.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Sam as I find this somewhat amusing. That poor girl must be in a panic, however she only has herself, and possibly facebook, to blame! As I mentioned in my own blog, surely the privacy settings should be set to ‘friends only’ automatically and we should be able to change it to public by choice, not vice versa? Your thoughts?

    • I totally agree. Privacy should be a default while the risk of exposing your details to the world should be entirely optional.
      Obviously it was a mistake on her part too, but the possibility of these mistakes could be reduced by altering the privacy settings.

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