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Who is to blame when giant cocktail parties are organized on Facebook?

The massive cocktail parties that have already left one young man dead and several people injured are raising questions without obvious answers in the age of social media — notably, who is responsible? Answer: No one.

Authorities say they want the organizers of these flash mob-type gatherings where copious amounts of alcohol are consumed to face up to their responsibilities. But when an invitation goes viral and thousands of people spontaneously decide to gather in a public space, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to designate or identify the person in charge.

Other questions include: Who pays for any damages? Taxpayers. Who pays for the mobilization of the hundreds of extra police and emergency medical services that end up costing thousands of euros?  Taxpayers. Should the law prohibit these gatherings? No, but they should be regulated, lawmakers say.

Since forbidding people from gathering outright is not a viable solution, the authorities are pursuing avenues like cracking down on the sale of alcohol to minors. Existing laws should be sufficient to deal with the problem. But following the young man’s death in Nantes, that city’s mayor is calling on Brice Hortefeux, the interior minister, to step in and nip the problem in the bud before it spreads to other cities. The mayor called the drinks parties “a national problem” that deserves national attention, according to published reports.

It remains to be seen whether a giant drinks party planned at the foot of Eiffel Tower in Paris on May 23 will take place as planned. Part of the goal of these gatherings is for each city to outdo the otherd in the number of participants.  An estimated 9,000 people participated in Nantes and 11,000 in Montpellier.

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/france/100514/who-blame-when-giant-cocktail-parties-are-organized-facebook