Do your kids use the “invitation” feature on Facebook to spread the word about parties and events with their friends? If so, make sure they know how to use the feature properly – or they could be putting themselves at risk.
Facebook invitations are fairly simple to use, and can be sent to anyone with a Facebook account or email address. Click “events” from your home account page and fill in the date and location, upload an optional picture, and customize the privacy level of your event (public or private.) The important part is this: don’t forget to triple-check the privacy level!
Last month a German teen identified as Thessa invited friends to her 16th birthday party using Facebook, but she forgot to mark the invitation as “private.” The result? The invitation went viral, causing 1,600 people to flood her street on the day of the party – even though Thessa later realized her mistake and cancelled the event. The police were called in to handle the crowd, and Thessa (who was nowhere to be found) had a very unhappy birthday.
Thessa’s real-life faux pas was preceded by a similar occurrence last year in Australia (which luckily turned out to be a hoax.) Facebook invitations for Kate Miller’s birthday went viral and Facebook ended up closing down the event after over 60,000 people RSVP’d.
What’s fortunate is that “Kate Miller” wasn’t a real person and that Thessa wasn’t hurt because of inviting the entire Facebook world to her house. But it serves as a reminder to you and your teens to be extra-careful with privacy settings on the Internet – that “private” button is easy to miss, but it’s vital when you’re giving out personally identifying information in an invitation!
Watch Your Facebook Invites by Tim Woda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.