30,000 people RSVP to a teen’s party on Facebook…Chris Hansen’s latest endeavor— To Catch 30,000 Predators

tied to the tail of a dragon

A teenaged girl in Haren (a small town by Groningen, M’s hometown), announced her 16-year-old birthday party on facebook. A lot of her friends replied, “Yes” (they would attend). But so did 30,000 other people.

On Friday night, thousands of  young people, and assorted other troublemakers, swarmed Haren for the girl’s party. She and her family vacated the area. Good idea because the town was hit with an extremely ridiculous amount of violence, theft, damage and turmoil. Riot control was outnumbered .

All told, this innocent facebook invitation, cost the town over €1 million in damages. All because Little Miss Sweet 16 neglected to make her invitation PRIVATE.

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Facebook’s been tracking our every move for the last few years, gathering enough behavioral data to sell to advertisers and Santa Claus for his naughty or nice list. Now, finally, we’ll get to see for ourselves just how creepy and pathetic we truly are. I can hardly wait.


Your status updates are too whiney, your cursing is off-putting and, for crying out loud, can you please stop texting while walking?

That’s what your fellow humans are thinking as you walk around starting at your mobile phone immersed in your online life, according to the Mobile Etiquette and Digital Sharing survey commissioned by Intel (s intc).

The survey found that six out of 10 Americans think you complain too much on social media, while in every place expect China, people perceived that our mobile manners were deteriorating. These gaffes include talking about private matters in public places, watching porn in inappropriate places (like in the airplane seat next to my 6-year-old, perv in 12C) and texting while driving (and walking). Surprisingly, Intel didn’t include a category for people who talk on their phones in public bathrooms, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it’s…

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The Story's Story

There’s some possibly bogus research about “How your cell phone wrecks your relationships — even when you’re not using it.” I say “possibly bogus” because these kinds of social science studies are notoriously unreliable and unreproducible.* Nonetheless, this one reinforces some of my pre-existing biases and is congruent with things that I’ve observed in my own life and the lives of friends, so I’m going to not be too skeptical of its premises and will instead jump into uninformed speculation.

It seems like cell phones and Facebook cordon a large part of your life from your significant other (assuming you have one or aspire to have one) and encourage benign-seeming secrecy in that other part of your life. In the “old days,” developing friendships or quasi-friendships with new people required face-to-face time, or talking on the phone (which, at home, was easily enough overheard) or writing letters…

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Once upon a time, many years ago, I had a Facebook presence.  When I opened the account, I didn’t plan on becoming a cyber stalker, but that’s what happened.  There must have been an undetectable mind-controlling force emitted from my computer screen as soon as I logged on to the site.  Mark Zuckerberg seemed like an evil genius in “The Social Network,” so I have no doubt he figured out how to control my thoughts.

Nearly overnight, I was consumed with curiosity about the intimate details of people I barely knew.  What did Suzy eat for breakfast?  Did Joanie run today, or was she a slug, like usual?  Are Brad and Jenna still fighting?  Did Lisa finish vacuuming the hallway?  In just a couple of clicks, I could find out all this and more.

I would wake up every morning, head directly for the computer, and spy.  Then…

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Social Media: PR Friend or Foe?

What Is Facebook Good For?