Viral Facebook party turns into a riot…

Following on from recent posts on the English Riots and the response to anti-Islam video across the Middle East here’s another example of the intriguing overlap between network culture and crowd contagion.

As reported in The Independent… See also BBC video.

Teen’s ‘Facebook party’ turns into riot in Netherlands.

Thousands of revelers descended on a small Dutch town sparking a riot after a party invitation posted on Facebook went viral, authorities said today.

Prosecutor Hessel Schuth said 34 people were arrested last night and in the early hours of this morning and would be prosecuted for public order offenses. Several people were injured, but none were believed to be seriously hurt.

“Scum ran amok in our town,” said Rob Bats, mayor of Haren, 185 kilometers (115 miles) north of Amsterdam.

“An innocent invitation on Facebook for a party led to serious rioting, destruction, plundering, arson and injuries in the middle of Haren,” he said.

Bats said an initial analysis showed a core group of rioters “were very violent and well-prepared and deliberately sought confrontation” with hundreds of police who had been dispatched to the town amid fears of trouble.

Dutch media reported that the party originally was planned as a small celebration by a 16-year-old girl but her invitation went viral when she posted it on Facebook.

Some of the people arriving in Haren on Friday wore T-shirts emblazoned with “Project X Haren,” a reference to the film Project X that portrayed an out-of-control party.

On Saturday, another Facebook group sprang up called Project Clean-X Haren, urging people to help clear up the debris littering the town’s streets.

AP
Again from the BBC

Revellers could be seen wearing T-shirts marked “Project X Haren” after Project X – a film released earlier this year about a party that grows out of control.

Such T-shirts had been selling on the internet for 23 euros (£18; $30) apiece. Some featured a crude logo of a man on all fours drinking from a bottle, AFP notes.

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About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. A former musician, he studied computer technology and cultural theory before receiving a PhD in sociology from the University of Essex. His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, due 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK, a co-founder of Club Critical Theory and Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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