Remember that girl in Hamburg, Germany who a few weeks ago had over 1,500 people show up for a birthday party at her parents house when she announced it with an open invitation on Facebook, causing over 100 police officers to have to be dispatched to break up the party? Or what that other Facebook party in the German town of Wuppertal that turned into a riot that saw 41 arrests, 16 injuries and an estimated $170,000 in property damage? Well it looks like the German government has had enough of unruly teenagers getting together to play beer pong via Facebook.
Facebook is one of Germany’s most popular social networking sites with upwards of 19 million account holders. The site’s most engaged users are teenagers, students and young adults.
Now not only theologians but political officials like Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Uwe Schünemann are calling for a Facebook party ban due to the potential for public disorder that they are claiming the events could bring. Schünemann told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, “If public safety and order are endangered, then Facebook parties will have to be banned beforehand. If these sorts of mass gatherings are already taking place, then they should be broken up.”
In addition to a possible ban of the social network’s invitations for events system, Schünemann is also recommending that schools should implement into their curriculum a kind of Internet driver’s license that would help young people understand the potential for danger, the pitfalls of utilizing Facebook. “Young people often don’t realize what they are getting into,” he said to the newspaper.
Now, it’s sort of chilling to think that these sorts of measures could be put into place just because a bunch of teenagers who get together and get wasted did so via Facebook. You’d swear that teenagers haven’t been behaving like this since FOREVER. This, coming down hard on free speech under the guise of “public safety,” is also the sort of clever ruse an authoritarian government leader would look to do to take strip the organizing and communicating power of social media away from his or her citizens. Who would do something so diabolical? Oh, I don’t know…maybe HITLER?! Haven’t the Germans learned anything from history?