Social Question

mattbrowne's avatar

Inviting 15,000 people to your birthday party by mistake - How common are Facebook mishaps?

Asked by mattbrowne (31588points) June 4th, 2011

‘Around 1600 people were cleared from the streets of a quiet Hamburg neighborhood on Friday, June 3, after police had cordoned off a house where a 16-year-old German girl had wanted to celebrate her birthday with family and friends. The revelers outside – carrying posters saying “We love Thessa” – were celebrating the birthday, too, though they hadn’t been invited – at least not intentionally. The 16-year-old had posted an invitation to the party on the social networking site, Facebook, and accidentally listed the party as a public event.

After over 15,000 people responded confirming that they would attend the party, the 16-year-old attempted to correct the mistake by cancelling the party over the site. The cancellation was to no avail, however, and by early evening hundreds of young Germans from Hamburg and across Germany had already begun arriving. “It was a great party atmosphere,” said one visitor, Angelika. “It’s almost like a festival here.”

Some were even singing a song to the 16-year-old, the text of which had been disseminated over Facebook prior to the event. “Thessa, oh Thessa, we don’t know each other but it doesn’t matter we’re celebrating you and getting wasted.”


It seems there was just one wrong click. With tremendous consequences. How common is this? Do you know of other Facebook mishaps? Fluther mishaps? Should social networking sites include better safety mechanisms? Like: Do you really, really want to do this… (yes/no) ? Or something like that?

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5 Answers

flutherother's avatar

That would make sense. If it had happened in Syria 15 of them would have been dead by now.

Ladymia69's avatar

Just go to or facebook-fail sites to find out,

TheIntern55's avatar

I’ve heard alot of stories from people who accidentaly sent something innapropriate to their boss and got fired.

SavoirFaire's avatar

While Facebook mishaps are common, Facebook mishaps of this magnitude are not. Most people catch these mistakes fairly quickly. The problem here was that the girl didn’t realize she had made her birthday a public event until after 15,000 people responded.

Most functions probably don’t need a warning. If you embarrass yourself in front of friends and family, it’s probably nothing that you or someone else hasn’t done without the aid of technology. When making posts or pages that everyone in the world could potentially see, however, it might be a good idea.

“Do you really want to do this” wouldn’t be enough, though, since this girl—not realizing her mistake—probably would have just clicked “yes” and the same thing would have happened. Maybe something like “are you sure you want this post/page to be available to anyone using Facebook?” or a “are you sure you want to make this event open to anyone using Facebook?” would be better. The warning won’t be effective unless it let’s you know why you might not want to do what you are about to do.

mattbrowne's avatar

Great answers, thanks !

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