Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

Summary:It was supposed to be a sweet 16th birthday party with just a few friends. Then Anonymous got involved.

An Australian schoolgirl named Jess had to cancel her sweet 16 birthday party after her Facebook invitation went viral and over 200,000 people said they would show up at her house in Chatswood, New South Wales on March 26. The girl contacted authorities saying that her Facebook account had been hijacked, and it was soon revealed that the notorious Anonymous collective had been involved. "I'm never doing this again," she said. "I'm so scared and now I have the police called."

Jess originally wanted to merely invite the students in her grade, but told her guests that they could bring friends since she didn't have time to invite everyone individually. She encouraged others to invite friends on her behalf saying that it was an "open house party as long as it doesn't get out of hand."

The girl's father said she was unaware of Facebook's privacy settings and told The Telegraph that "she was just anxious about whether anyone would show up to her birthday." Only two people showed up to the last party she held, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The invitation, which had Jess' home address and mobile phone number on it, went viral. The girl's home address was used to uncover her home telephone number, and thus both her numbers were bombarded with calls and text messages from strangers.

Jess reportedly shut it down (she sent a curt message: "it's f***in off.") because it was spreading so quickly, but shortly after it was recreated by an impostor, who copied the information from the original invitation. The fake one reached a completely different level of viral. Within 24 hours more than 20,000 people had replied to the public event to say they were attending and the next day that number had increased 10-fold.

Multiple postings on the invitation's wall sported the Anonymous symbol in the users' profile pictures, suggesting that the hacker group was responsible. A 17-year-old boy has been charged and is due to appear in court next month.

"The father has given us an undertaking that he will have the Facebook page removed and the party will definitely not be going on," police Inspector Terry Dalton told ABC Radio. "There will be no party at that address. The only thing that anybody who turns up on that street will be met by will be some police vehicles patrolling the area."

Facebook appears to have removed the duplicate fake event.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.