Facebook is innocent – whoever steered hoons to a flat-farming party is the real culprit

Stuff today gives a splendid idea of a technology taking the rap, when something goes awry, rather than the tossers using the technology.

In this case it’s Facebook that is copping the blame:

Facebook derails Timaru party

Really?

Well, someone thinks so, because the culpability of the technology is reiterated in the first paragraph –

Facebook has been blamed for another out-of-control party in Timaru.

This is like blaming the telephone for police being given a bum steer by somebody making a false 111 call or like blaming a tree for a fatal accident when a drunken driver runs slap-bang into it at high speed.

The facts (according to Stuff, anyway) are that police were called to an Aynsley St address about 10pm on Saturday where youths were spilling on to the street.

Several of the louts (or should that be “alleged louts”?) were served with infringement notices for possessing alcohol, Sergeant Kevin McErlain told the news media.

Neighbours reported fighting, abuse and broken bottles as police struggled to shift a crowd of about 150.

One described the scene as “carnage”, adding she observed teenagers fighting, swearing and smashing bottles for over an hour.

“There was a lot of glass thrown about and a lot of abusive language.”

She says the problem is ongoing. “We’ve put trellis up as we’ve had hooligans on our front lawn.

“I’d imagine (the behaviour) would be quite intimidating for the elderly people.”

So far, so good.

We have a bunch of hooligans making life disagreeable for neighbours.

Ah.

And – just as Alf suspected – we find the role of Facebook is no more than hearsay.

Those who hosted the party claim someone posted the event on Facebook.

Can this claim be fleshed out?

Apparently so.

A few young people moved into the street recently and planned a flat warming with some friends.

Here’s what they have to say about it –

“Unbeknown to us someone found out and posted it on Facebook.

“When we realised that people we didn’t know were showing up, and too many of them, we removed everyone from our property and closed the party.”

And then…

“Unfortunately for the neighbourhood these people decided to continue drinking on the street and footpath until the police came to move them along.

“We are sincerely sorry as this is not what we had planned for; we will not be having any more parties.”

So if we are looking for a culprit, it’s not Facebook but the “someone” who posted the notification of the party and the address.

Stuff goes on to tell of police shutting down another party last weekend after being called by noise control, which had failed to resolve the issue on its first visit.

Mass disorder continued in the street for two hours as police struggled to get the crowd under control.

Eight intoxicated youths were taken home by police. The youngest was 13.

Details of that party had also been posted on Facebook.

The Timaru Herald has then dipped into its files to buttress its case against Facebook.

In June 2011, Housing New Zealand stymied plans for a massive teenage party at one of its Timaru properties after The Herald was tipped off.

The party’s Facebook page indicated at least 190 people planned to attend, while the invitation had been sent to more than 800 people.

Again, somebody using Facebook was the cause of this mischief.

We don’t arrest and lock up the gun, knife, arsenic or whatever was used to murder somebody. We arrest and lock up the people who used those items to commit the murder.

The same applies to today’s communications technology.

Facebook is innocent.

The tossers who used it to alert an army of louts to the location of the flat-warming party are not.

The defence rests its case, Your Honour.

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