Are fake events the new fake news?

Excerpt from this article:

…as Facebook becomes dominant, and promoters strive to get more eyeballs on their nights out, more of us are noticing an element of bull in the events we see on the social network. If you’re lucky enough not to have been trolled by one, these are commonly events that are promoting something large and lavish – but suspiciously lack any basic information, such as a venue, a price, or specifics on DJs or acts playing.

…So why set up a fake event? We asked Ryan Palmer, a DJ used to playing the kind of genuine raves that bogus events pretend to advertise, who also happens to have a background in hacking. First off, he noticed that pages such as the ‘Secret Woodland Rave’ would have ‘many events running in different cities at more or less the same time, which were logistically impossible to pull off’. Through Google image searches, he also noticed that the photos used were actually of random events, such as Eastern European free parties. There were no contact details on most of the pages either.

Palmer thought at first that the motive was a nefarious plot to extract data, which is potentially true in some cases. But the recurring theme is that a day before the event is supposed to happen, it will be ‘postponed’ and then changed into something advertising a paid event. The problem with Facebook is that it lets you change essentially everything about an event while still keeping the valuable harvest of people who previously asked for notifications. So by clicking ‘interested’ for a Summer Rooftop Party, you may ultimately end up getting spammed by a student night in Bournemouth a week later.

The Aspirational R.S.V.P.: Saying Yes When You Mean No

Excerpt from this article, which also reminded me of this previous post about how “Cellphones Make People Flaky as…”

Let’s call it the aspirational R.S.V.P. — when someone replies yes to an invitation, even though he knows, or is fairly certain, that he can’t or won’t attend.

“Aspirational R.S.V.P.s have become rampant, thanks to Facebook,” said the painter and translator Daisy Rockwell. “Very often when I post an event there, people will choose ‘Join’ simply as a show of solidarity. If you ask them if they really plan to come to your Massachusetts event all the way from California, they are affronted, as though you are criticizing their noble sentiment.”

…Tanael Joachim, a stand-up comic who produces a monthly comedy show on the Lower East Side, said that typically three-fourths of his Facebook reservations are no-shows. “By a huge majority it’s a young-people problem,” he said. “There’s no real commitment with social media. If you don’t have to face people and see that they’re displeased, you create a culture where it’s very easy to be flaky.”