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Project X Haren - Facebook party gets out of control

A "Facebook party" in the municipality of Haren, close to Groningen (NL) got out of hand.  A 15-year-old girl had accidentally left the status for het 16th birthday party on facebook on "public". The "invitation" got picked up and spread by other social network users and quickly became a real hype on the internet, resulting in tens of thousands of people indicating to come to her home.

Despite government warnings not to come, thousands did attend the event and rioters used  'Project X Haren' as an excuse to transform Haren into a battlefield  and leave a trail of destruction. Cars were overturned, windows were smashed and more than 30 people got injured.

The incident refuels the debate on the role of social media, and the eventual need for control. In the aftermath of the London street riots in 2011 David Cameron spoke to the House of Commons . “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them.”

An overview of the day can be viewed at youtube [Dutch]

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