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Flash Mob Parties refer to large-scale social gatherings that are usually hosted at private locations, such as residential homes, and promoted publcly through social media platforms. Due to the overwhelming turnout in attendance, presence of underage drinking and as a result, concerns of public safety, flash mob parties have been often met by police crackdown.
On January 12th, 2008, high school student Corey Worthington threw a party while his parents were away at his house in the Narre Warren district of Melbourne, Australia. According to the Australian news site Crikey, Worthington publicized the event on the social networking sites Myspace and Facebook, which attracted a crowd of 500 youths who subsequently vandalized the neighborhood. Following the party, Worthington was interviewed by the television news program A Current Affair, in which he famously refused to take off his sunglasses stating they were “famous” (shown below).
May 2010: Kate’s Birthday
On May 1st, 2010, the birthday party of Australian resident Kate Miller was crashed by over 60,000 attendees after the public Facebook event was posted on several community websites.
September 2010: William Lashua’s Birthday
In September 2010, an event flyer for the 90th birthday of Massachusetts resident William Lashua was posted on 4chan, which subsequently spread to various community sites. After finding out about the event’s online circulation, Lashua’s grandson submitted a post to Reddit with instructions on where to send “cards and well wishes.”
June 2011: Thessa’s Birthday
On June 3rd, 2011, the 16th birthday party of a teenager named Thessa in Hamburg, Germany was crashed by upwards of 1,600 people who discovered the gathering through a public Facebook event page. 11 people were arrested, one officer was injured and several attendees were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.
March 2012: Project X Film
On March 2nd, 2012, the comedy film Project X was released about a party held by several teenagers that escalates beyond control after being advertised on Craigslist and a local radio station. Following the film’s release, many flash mob parties began adopting the word “Project” for their event titles.
March 2012: Project M
On March 8th, 2012, an invite for a party dubbed “Project M” at a foreclosed home in Farmington Hills, Michigan was posted to Twitter by high school student Mike Vasovski, which was subsequently posted as an ad on Craigslist (shown below). The following day, the Detroit news site ABC 7 reported that Vasovski was offered a summer internship by the Gawker Media automotive blog Jalopnik for successfully marketing the event.
September 2012: Project X Haren
On September 6th, 2012, a 15-year-old girl from Haren, Groningen in the northeastern Netherlands launched a public Facebook event page in which she invited 78 friends to her 16th birthday party to be held on the 21st of that month. One of the invitees invited hundreds of additional Facebook users, which resulted in a total of 16,000 invites sent in the next 48 hours. After the Facebook page was deleted, people began spreading the event information on Twitter with the terms “Project X Merthe,” “Project X Stationsweg” and “Project X Haren”. A new Facebook page for the event was launched titled “Project X Haren,” through which over 30,000 people were invited by September 21st (shown below).
That day, the family was moved to a secret location as a precautionary safety measure. Later that evening, thousands of people descended upon their street, resulting in riots and vandalism. Additionally, a total of 36 rioters and 15 policemen were injured and an elderly man was assaulted inside his home.
September 2013: I’m Shmacked Party
On September 9th, 2013, a promoter for the YouTube series I’m Smacked posted a tweet urging University of Delaware students to retweet the message in order to throw an impromptu tour stop in Newark.
I need you to RT the tweet below. I have to prove to the Delaware venue we have a following there so we can come— I'm Shmacked (@ImShmacked) September 9, 2013
That evening, thousands of students rioted in the streets after police prevented the event from happening. Newark police reported that students vandalized public property, causing the town to call for reinforcements from across the state.
April 2014: Deltopia
On April 5th, 2014, the University of Santa Barbara’s annual springtime party Deltopia turned into a riot following wide-spread promotion of the event on sites like Instagram and Twitter. On the following day, the Internet news site The Daily Dot highlighted several notable tweets, photos and videos of the riots.
April 2014: #ProjectNat
On April 11th, 2014, a party was broken up by police is Salem, Oregon, which had reportedly been organized by teenager Nat Gray via Twitter. Prior to the event, the Marion County Sherrif tweeted at Gray warning him that he could face serious consequences for the party.
March 2014: #MansionParty
On May 2nd, 2014, a party for a 17-year-old in Ontario, Canada was promoted on social media under the hashtag #MansionParty, which was attended by 2,000 teenagers who caused an estimated $70,000 in damages. Canadian police reportedly broke up the party with 60 squad cars, canine and tactical units after receiving numerous complaints.
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