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Police union says Facebook party posters should have to pay up

The Local · 14 Jun 2011, 15:11

Published: 14 Jun 2011 15:11 GMT+02:00

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Bernhard Witthaut, head of the Gewerkschaft der Polizei (GdP) police union, said invitations to parties through Internet social networks could unintentionally spread far and wide and attract random and unwelcome people.

Witthaut warned that such parties could turn into “financial tragedy” for the party-thrower if things get too crazy, even unintentionally.

His words come after a rash of out-of-control parties in Germany where people heard about the events through social networking sites and passed on invitations. Things appear to have been especially bad over the recent long holiday weekend.

Hundreds of young people gathered at a Hamburg lake on Saturday following a note on Facebook, disturbed residents’ sleep and then fought in a massive brawl, Bild newspaper reported.

And, the newspaper reported, 250 Facebook users partied over the weekend in the Munich subway, frightening normal passengers.

But the Facebook-engendered party which rankled police and spurred calls for legislation to deal with the issue, happened earlier this month when about 1,500 people crashed a girl’s 16th birthday party in Hamburg, which she mistakenly listed as a public event on Facebook.

More than 100 police had to be brought in to deal with the revellers, some of whom threw firecrackers and bottles at officers.

Klemens Burzlaff from the DPoIG police union, told Bild that such parties could “threaten human life” because police were diverted from other emergencies to control the situation.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:57 June 14, 2011 by tonilton
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:35 June 14, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Well, yeah...but aren't teenagers always getting into trouble and needing the police to sort them out? That's part of growing up. This statement about making kids "pay" is ridiculous - it will never happen. It is only a scare to prevent rowdiness in the future. We'll see.
21:54 June 14, 2011 by catjones
Another anti-Americanism story...this time facebook. What if someone posted the invite on the town's bulletin board? When you report '250 facebook users' did you ask each of the 250 people where they got the info? Grow up and 'face' it, Germans are to blame, not the messenger.
22:09 June 14, 2011 by wood artist
This doesn't strike me as all that unreasonable. If you were planning a big party or celebration, you'd be expected to get a permit, hire security, and meet some basic requirements. Event organizers do that all the time. So, if you create the same situation by using some social media site, but skip the other things, why wouldn't the police time be chargeable? On top of that, by responding, they're taking people off the streets and away from their normal duties, so citizens elsewhere are being deprived of police "protection" or "presence" during that time.

People need to understand that power that social media sites have, and if they open up invitations to "everyone" don't be surprised when "everyone" shows up. If I wrote on my wall that I was having a big party at my home and everyone was invited, I have right to claim I didn't know it would happen when hundreds show up...and I don't even list 100 friends!

To me, this has nothing to do with "anti-Americanism" @catjones. This is just common sense. Facebook is a global media, that just happened to be created in America. It's no more "American" than google.de. If the first posting of the party was on facebook, then that's how people found out, regardless of where else it might have subsequently been posted.

11:45 June 15, 2011 by Alofat
Wow catjones you really lost your marbles now, huh?
16:00 June 15, 2011 by catjones
When you've read as many stories on the local as I have regarding American firms you begin to see the carping accusations and double standards. Facebook, Google, McDonalds, Walmart, all US autos the list goes on. Controversy draws readers, but I find the droning tiring.
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