Reality took a backseat down under when a cute blonde appeared to have 60,000 people ‘gatecrash’ her birthday party after advertising it on Facebook.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald The story should have been that Kate Miller advertised her party on her Facebook page and suffered a night of terror as 60,000 drunken Aussies showed up.
It was true that 60,000 Facebook users did show-up, at least virtually, but they had been suckered by an Adelaide-based serial online prankster David Thorne.
The Facebook event “Kate’s Birthday Party”, was billed as a small gathering of friends in an apartment but, crucially, the event was not closed, so anyone could invite new attendees.
The Facebook page for the May 1 event was created on Saturday and garnered 5000 attendees in 10 minutes, growing to 60,000 overnight. By the time the group was shut down by Facebook there were a further 180,000 people who had been invited but not yet confirmed.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, more than 500 related Facebook groups sprung up around the party, such as “Who needs a ride to Kate’s party”, “Which turban should I wear to Kate’s”, “I hope there’s more than one toilet in kate’s apartment”, “I have enough cheese & crackers for 8 ppl, do you think that’s enough for Kates”, “Flight QF785 to Kates Party”, “Kate’s afterparty” and “It’s actually a surprise party don’t tell kate!!”.
“Kate” appeared to be terrified and was shouting that it was a private party in her appartment and already there were 10,000 people who had invited themselves.
This was fuel to the illusion and there’s now an entire website, KatesParty.com, and a Twitter feed, with people sending in “fanpics” of themselves holding up posters saying “I’m Going to Kate’s Party”.
Facebook has removed the original page, but several unofficial Kate’s Party events are being planned in Australian capital cities for May 1 instead.
Thorne, who runs the highly popular prankster site 27bslash6.com, came clean when contacted by this website today.
He said it took him five minutes to construct and he was surprised how the prank took off. He was impressed with how quickly Facebook acted to shut the event down.
He pointed out that while the entire birthday party event was a hoax, it illustrates the risks posed by failing to double-check privacy settings on Facebook.