Editorial: Facebook can send out wrong message

By Kim Gillespie

It's probably not surprising social media is getting more mentions in news stories.

When you consider nearly half the country is on Facebook, that the world has just witnessed its first "Twitter Election", not to mention the various Twitter Revolutions of recent years, it's obvious online social networking is playing a bigger and bigger part in many of our lives.

Not only is it spreading the news and influencing the news, often it is the news. Just yesterday came a report about changes to Facebook which have upset users. The site has new "couples pages" - joint profiles for those identified as being in a relationship, and it's publishing them automatically. Hardly "stop the press" material - but of huge interest to Facebook users everywhere.

But it was the mention of Facebook in another story which really caught my eye.

Yesterday's The Daily Post featured an article about a series of weekend parties which erupted into violence.

I'm sure alcohol, youth and bravado all played their parts in causing the ruckus, but, in what's becoming a familiar tale, Facebook also had a role.

As reported yesterday at least one of the parties was promoted openly on Facebook.

If you really don't care who's turning up or how many will come then that's a great tactic.

But don't be surprised when it all turns to custard. More than 100 drunken youths? What could possibly go wrong?

I checked out Facebook's event function. It seems the default privacy setting when creating an event is for friends of guests to see the details.

So let's say you invite 30 people to your party, and they each have an average 200 friends that's (whips out calculator) 6000 pairs of eyes catching your event posting (give or take a few thousand mutual friends).

Now that'll be a party to remember.

Police warned in our story that party hosts should avoid advertising the party on social media. Maybe sticking to good old fashioned email might be a plan.

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- Rotorua Daily Post

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