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

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.

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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.

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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.

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31 comments
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  • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

    Ridiculous article title. A few teens think its a cool idea to use the Anon image as their facebook photo and make some posts, and you assume that the group had a hand in it? Jee well, I guess if I make my photo one of George W Bush II and make some posts supporting pro-choice movements, that MUST mean George Bush is now pro life...

    Weak Slate, very weak...

    "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."
    gnesterenko
    • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

      @gnesterenko good points. It seems that the lack of knowledge/usage/simplicity of Facebook's "privacy" settings are more to blame here.

      #facebooksucks
      bc3tech
      • Think for a second

        @bc3tech
        Yes, clearly if I create a public Facebook event, I will see 200,000 people say they are attending. This happens all the time!
        Empro
      • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

        @bc3tech [i]It seems that the lack of knowledge/usage/simplicity of Facebook's "privacy" settings are more to blame here. [/i]

        While the privacy settings might have prevented the problem, and should always be set... I still think the idiots who abused the system are still to blame.
        Badgered
      • Maybe not that many, but...

        @empro > my stupid kid posted a party invitation that was supposed to be for just 20 kids and nearly 1000 RSVPs showed up in the first half hour. I almost think FB automatically makes invitations show up globally if set up as an event.<br><br>But, yes--the way one has to set up privacy filters in FB is not "user friendly" (to say the least).
        AttackComputerWhiz
    • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

      @gnesterenko ... The only weakness is apparently you, not the article. You have a loose grasp on reality. Your disclaimer also sounds like you're sending this from an employer's machine; too chicken to use your own?
      tomaaaaaa1
    • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

      @gnesterenko

      Uh, I think you meant "that MUST mean George Bush is now pro CHOICE," otherwise it makes no sense.

      It doesn't take tech social networking for teens to get into this situation. It happened to us when we were in the process of a move and our 18-year-old son hosted a party at our home one Saturday while we were settling into the new home 5 hours away. It was a flyer invitation to some h.s. friends that went viral by word of mouth and posted copies of the invite. The Police broke up an event of hundreds inside a gated community with mostly senior residents! Ten years later, even he shakes his head in disbelief -- "worst thing I've ever done!" Kids . . . .
      spyder3010
    • Anon didn't do that

      @gnesterenko <br>I agree. Anonymous is doing some great things, though they are deemed illegal by those who have been exposed. How else are we to know what those who hide their immoral activities are doing? <br>As a journalist Emil, you should know that anyone can post Anon's image and claim to be them, and also that Anon wouldn't stoop to this level. They are legitimately fighting for our rights, weather you agree with their methods or not.
      zatynski
      • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

        @zatynski@...
        Yeah, those Anonymous folks are great guys. Now how about a little transparency on their part? Some names and addresses maybe? Let us read their email perhaps? Bunch of vigilantees acting all self-righteous.
        boomchuck1
  • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

    It's ok. Only 80,000 will actually show up.
    stark realist
    • Actually...

      @stark realist

      Last year 2 showed up, this year it would have been 3.
      i8thecat
    • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

      @stark realist

      I thought it would please the ego of most 16 year olds to think that 200,000 were going to show up for her birthday.

      Not even the Queen of England gets that many people to show up to her party;)

      But in reality, her father did pretty much the right thing. The logistics would be impossible! But instead of putting profanities in the answer to that number, I would have put a different version of the above Q of E comment...
      mejohnsn
      • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

        @mejohnsn

        The other bad thing here is the thoughtlessness of listing your personal information like street address in a FB posting!
        boomchuck1
  • Could be worse!

    It could have been an Amway party scam!
    kd5auq
  • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

    Anon sucks.
    timspublic1
  • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

    I have no idea if Anonymous had anything to do with this but I sure as H*ll wouldn't be accusing them without definitive proof. They have ways of making peoples lives miserable just ask that wannabe security analyst about it.
    Mike062
  • What nonsense !!

    What utter nonsense. Anonymous involved ? LOL This is a classic example of click baiting. Even I fell for it. Blaming anonymous surely will trick a few more people into reading this nonsense.
    @Empro "Yes, clearly if I create a public Facebook event, I will see 200,000 people say they are attending. This happens all the time!" Maybe not all the time but it can happen quite easily. Maybe you should spend some more time researching how social networks work.
    And like some other poster noted, I would be careful not to falsely accuse Anonymous. Might just earn you a free lesson in cyber security.
    Sushruth
    • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

      @Sushruth ... Lots of threats going around here; sounds like every one of them belongs in a prison.
      tomaaaaaa1
  • Oh no.

    Oh no. Anon. What will we do? No more invitations on facebook. Rome has fallen.
    pjdiller
  • RE: Anonymous strikes: teenager cancels party after 200,000 RSVP on Facebook

    Sound like it would have been one heck of 16th birthday party. Shame it been cancel.
    Knowles2