How-To Geek

The Possible Pitfalls of Creating a Facebook Event

The next time you or someone you know creates what should be a “private or personal” Facebook event, it would be good idea to quickly review it and make certain that a certain pre-selected option is disabled.

Case in point, a young girl in the U.K. created a Facebook event to invite 15 friends to her upcoming birthday party. So far, so good right? Not in the least. An estimated 21,000 people have replied to say that they were going to come to her party.

The problem all stems from a pre-selected option in the Create an Event window. By default the Anyone can view and RSVP (public event) option is enabled. Unfortunately for the young girl she did not deselect the option and had added her address and phone number to the invitation. You can imagine the “nightmare” that has ensued.

While this may seem funny at first it really is not. This is something that could happen to our children as they are learning what to do and not do online, or perhaps to a family member/friend who is not as computer (or Facebook) savvy as we could wish. It definitely gives you something to think about…

What do you think? Could Facebook do a better job and have the event options set up as “opt-in”? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Teen sends Facebook invite to 15; 21,000 reply [via CNET News]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 09/21/10

Comments (3)

  1. Mike

    Facebook should go with the safer option and make it private by default. Worse case scenario if you want public and don’t check/uncheck the box to make it so, no harm done. Just go back in and change the option, instead of having to deal with 21,000 idiots contacting you about a party they weren’t meant to be invited to.

    Seems like a no brainer to me.

  2. Lori

    I agree with Mike. Besides this example of so many people replying, there are other possible problems.

    Maybe that girl couldn’t invite everyone she knew- her parents gave her a limit. So she chose ten friends, and wanted to keep the party private. Letting everyone know about the party creates social problems when she has to un-invite people.

    And there are safety issues involved with children & adults. You think you’re announcing to friends an event at a location away from home. But the announcement is public. While you are at the event your house is burglarized.

    Clear options for “friends only”, and privacy defaults are best.

  3. Judy

    Love your site it has helped a lot for this non-savvy computer person. It would be nice if more sites considered us. Have the time I get these boxes show up that say “are you sure you want to do this?” and I am not even sure what they are asking me about. I need alot of help and guidance so I keep reading. Have the problem is I think computers are a lot smarter than they really are.

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