Police Using Social Media to Stop “Project X” Parties

In this social media world, news travels quickly.  If someone wants to have a party, other people are going to invite even more people and those people will invite more and so on.  The recent movie called “Project X” has inspired many teens to have a similar type of wild, out-of-control party with underage drinking at places such as old warehouses and vacant houses.  The movie depicts high school aged teens having a party that spins out of control because so many people heard about it and showed up.  I have not actually seen this movie, but the commercials show enough that you can see what happens.

There have been many parties in the U.S. that kids say were inspired by this film.  One incident involved a young teen getting shot and killed by another party go-er while police attempted to shut down the party.  Other teens were also injured.

Other parties across the country have ended with multiple arrests.

However, in New York, the police used social media to stop a “Project X” inspired party before it happened.  The police stopped a St. Patrick’s Day party that spread rapidly over social media for a party at an abandoned warehouse which could have brought around 4,000 teens.  The teens who created it called it “Project New York”, clearly mimicking “Project X”.

Social media has made it easier to spread this information quickly and to many people.  However, not only teens can see this information although they may think that is the case.  The spread of this information has made it easier for police and parents to find out as well. The police heard about the party from a concerned parent and used Facebook and Twitter to confirm the site/day/time.

Police then used social media to alert parents and let the teens know that the police knew.  The police stopped the party from happening at all because of social media.  I think it is great that police have this to their advantage.  So, is there a possibility that police couldn’t have found this information? I definitely don’t think so.  No matter how private the teens were trying to keep this, so many teens were involved.  Even if most teens had their Facebook and Twitter set to private, some kids make themselves so publicly visible that the information would have leaked out.  Nothing is really that private anymore, but in this case, might be a good thing.  Who knows, maybe if this certain party did happen, someone might have been injured or killed.  So, the police could have saved someone’s life.  Read more here.

Do you think the police should use social media to their advantage? Do you think police should be able to use people’s Facebook/Twitter/other media when investigating crimes? Does it matter if someone’s information is set to “private”?