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Germany considers Facebook party ban

Wild Facebook parties could be banned in Germany after several parties organized through the social networking site have become unruly and violent.

German police are considering the ban for law and order reasons, after a party organized in Hamburg went viral.

The party, held last month after being advertised on Facebook descended into chaos when 1,600 people gate crashed a 16-year-old girl’s birthday.

One hundred Hamburg police offers made 11 arrests after the girl had forgotten to adjust her privacy settings so that only her friends would be alerted as to the event.

During a crackdown one weekend in June, police stopped several Facebook parties across Germany and detained 41 people at an impromptu party in the town of Wuppertal after 16 party-goers were injured.

According to German Speigel Online Uwe Schünemann, Lower Saxony’s interior minister and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a ban should be imposed on gatherings which “threaten public security and order.”

His Bavarian counterpart Joachim Herrmann stressed that officials should have the power to halt a party before uninvited “party guests” turn up to vandalize or riot.

But according to the UK Telegraph, opponents of the proposal say a ban would be unworkable as it would be impossible for police would monitor Facebook chatter for evidence of a large party. Blanket bans would also persecute people who had no intention of causing trouble, opponents argue.

“A blanket ban is too simplistic,” said Dieter Wiefelsputz, domestic policy spokesman for the opposition Social Democrats.

“Only in justified cases, when riots are predictable should a ban be imposed. It is necessary to educate young people about the dangers and potential costs of an out-of-control party.”

Education would include, presumably, how to use the site’s privacy settings so a party’s potential guest list can be contained.

Facebook is the most popular social networking site in Germany with more than 19 million users.

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