London, Dec 3 : Even though social networking sites have their advantages, they can prove hazardous at times, as a family found out when they posted an invite on Facebook for their daughter's 16th birthday.
The party was based on the MTV reality show My Super Sweet 16, faced 400 'Facebook gatecrashers', who vandalised the family's one million pound listed townhouse.
Georgina Hobday's parents, Sylvia, an advertising executive, and Michael, a professor at Sussex University, had agreed to hold the party at their home in Brighton, East Sussex. They had a guest list of 100 teenagers and had taken the precaution of asking four of their adult friends to help man the doors as unofficial bouncers and left the security to their friends. "It was an absolute horror show," the Telegraph quoted Sylvia as saying.
"I will never have a party for my daughter here again. She had no idea who most of the people were and they were rampaging through the house.
"The garden has been ruined, the grass is just mud, people were walking through the pond and I heard one boy was trying to head butt the mirror.
"My front garden was full and some people were climbing up the balcony and trying to get through the windows.
"My floor was blackened with dirt left from shoes and there were cigarette burn marks around the bottom of the door. People had taken out lightbulbs and just stamped on them in the garden.
"They knocked over plants and smashed my garden shed.
"The My Super Sweet 16 programmes have made the 16th birthday a big deal.
"A few years ago it was always their 18th birthday and they could go to clubs but it seemed that realistically the only place Georgina could have her party was at home," she added.
News of the party had spread over the Internet, including Facebook, and by text message, and there were claims that it had been targeted by a group calling itself the Facebook Republic Army which scours the internet looking for parties to overrun. Sussex Police said that the couple had done "the right thing" by bringing in their friends as bouncers but they had simply been overwhelmed.
"There was a sea of people, the place was overrun and it was difficult to move, which was a major safety problem that required a lot of police time and resources," Inspector Andy Richardson said.