Police Say Facebook Is Liable In Man's Death, Because He Was At A Flashmob Organized On Facebook

from the make-it-stop dept

Following the story we just had about a judge trying to order Facebook to stop students from skipping classes, an anonymous reader sends in an even more ridiculous "blame Facebook" story. This one takes place in France, and involves a flash mob that was organized on Facebook -- as many flash mobs are these days. This particular flash mob involved getting a lot of people together and having them all drink an alcoholic beverage. Tragically, however, a young man died during the flash mob (Google translation of the original story). Apparently this particular participant in the flash mob tried to slide down a guard rail, but missed, and fell off a bridge to his death. The article quotes some people suggesting Facebook should be blamed, and the person who submitted the post notes that a police spokesperson on TV also blamed Facebook:
According to Mohamed Douane, a police official representative, on a live broadcast on the TV channel BFMTV, Facebook is liable for allowing the flash mob to be made by providing a space on which you can express yourself. In addition, whoever had the idea of making the flash mob are also liable for the death of this man, and this case would be under investigation, in order to find who had the idea of such a flash mob.
Yes, it's tragic that this guy died, but blaming Facebook? And whoever organized a get together of people, because this guy apparently drank too much? That's going way too far.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    "Apparently this particular participant in the flash mob tried to slide down a guard rail, but missed, and fell off a bridge to his death"

    It's strange how when the heard gets thinner, it also gets stronger. Weeding out the idiots is a good thing. Now if we could only get rid of that idiot cop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Tom Landry (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:00am

    This is what we call putting a little bleach in the gene pool.

    nature weeds out the idiots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    DH's Love Child, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:03am

    I think we also need to blame

    The builders of the bridge for making it so easy to fall. sheesh

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Robert Ring (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:09am

    "by providing a space on which you can express yourself"

    So the government should be liable, too, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Another User, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Don't forget. Need to find who ever put in the guard rail. Can't have things like that tempting people to slide down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Dan (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    ROFL

    ROFL {at the police}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:14am

    I forgot to add, that the young man who died was a voluntary firemen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Another AC, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Let's see. The guy who organized the event is to be blamed, and b/c he used Facebook to 'express himself', the company should also be blamed.

    If he tweeted about it, Twitter should be blamed. If he emailed using Hotmail or Gmail, well, Microsoft and Goggle are totally to blame too.

    But why stop there? I mean they drank alcohol. If they had just drank water, this wouldn't of happened. So we should also blame the store that sold them the alcohol. As well, just to make sure we've covered all the bases the maker of the alcohol should be blamed.

    As others have already said, whoever put in that guard rail should be taking some of this blame too.

    Someone has to be blamed after all. Accidents don't just happen, someone must be at fault.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Another User, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Why stop there!

    Also Al Gore should be blamed for inventing the internet which allowed sites like Facebook to exist. And the ISPs for allowing the web traffic which caused the flash mob. /S

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Vic (still another AC), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:28am

    Re:

    "Accidents don't just happen, someone must be at fault."

    It amazes me that that "someone" is never a dead person! Do not speak of them bad or do not speak at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Ben Doom (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Wasn't there an amendment or something?

    So, basically, if you provide a place for people to speak freely in order to arrange to freely assemble, you are breaking the law.

    I think I read something about this somewhere....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Danny, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    There's a lot more to blame than that.

    The farmers who grew the ingredients for the alcohol.
    The makers of his shoes for not preventing him from falling.
    The bartender the sold him alcohol.
    The people the bartender pays rent/mortgage to.
    The bartender's family (if they have any.)
    (Because its their fault that the bartender took up bartending as a way to pay for stuff.)
    The bartender's boss. Its their fault for hiring the bartender.
    The owner of the bar. Its their fault for putting a bar at that location.

    .....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re: I think we also need to blame

    How about every single person on this planet who failed to install a net to catch the person who did fall!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Pierre Guillery, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Facebook, flashmobs in France, death of a drunken firefighter...

    Here in France, this FB flashmob problem is making the headlines - everybody's talking about it (lack of anything else to report?). From 5 to 10,000 people meeting in town squares, in tens of cities (one such event announced in Paris), lots of alcohol, local authorities dont know what to do...

    This policeman did say what's reported above - but the interior minister (who isn't usually that considerate...) just said that "something needs to be done about this flashmob phenomenon - but that blaming Facebook or simply banning the events is not the answer".

    Politicians and people in the street alike are now acknowledging (some with surprise!) the "power of FB" and (all in all) recognize that the social network is just the medium. Interesting "debate"... Lots of people just discovered the "importance" of FB: over 15m accounts in France - a quarter of the entire population. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    Re: Wasn't there an amendment or something?

    This is France we're talking about. They don't tend to go by our Constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    Re: Facebook, flashmobs in France, death of a drunken firefighter...

    Thanks, Pierre. It is encouraging to hear that at least not all politicians are clinically insane.

    Just be watchful of widespread reporting of this kind, as we should all be world-wide. I sometimes have my doubts that this is simply blatant ignorance. Being a tyrant is easy when a misinformed public becomes outraged at all the wrong things, for all the wrong reasons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Jason, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Re: Facebook, flashmobs in France, death of a drunken firefighter...

    There have been many posts on this site about the police in the US using Craigslist to track down criminals, pimps etc.. However that has not stopped several attorney generals from blaming Craigslist for the activity of it's users. Perhaps the police in France could track the flashmobs using Facebook and then arrest folks when their behavior breaks the law. They would know where they going to crop up, when it would happen and be able to react faster.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Fushta, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    Ban soap boxes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Seshan (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    Wow, a flash mob to get drunk. How lame. They guy should be blamed for coming up with such a stupid flashmob idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Fushta, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    Perhaps firemen only obtain the skill of sliding down vertical poles.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Humans have an unfortunate tendency to look for scapegoats. Since they can't make a dead man answer for his own death, they do the next thing to it by attempting to hold Facebook accountable. This satisfies the human emotional need to blame somebody other than the accident victim and possibly serves other purposes for the government such as reducing Facebook's influence in other more important matters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    MAC, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Blame Joseph Marie Jacquard for inventing the predecessor to the computer, the Jacquard loom.

    Perhaps they should arrest his great, great, great grandson; he might invent something that will prod someone to do something really stupid in 2235...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    bigpicture, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Missing the Point

    I think that you are missing the point here. Facebook is a tool for fad idiots and if you didn't put the tool in their hands then they could not do any harm with it.

    Similar reason, and similar legal rulings as to why you should not put a gun in the hands of the mentally challenged, or bartenders do not give totally free alcohol access to the alcohol consumption challenged, or they will be liable for any adverse results.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    detour, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    So by this rationale, if the flash mob had been organized by putting a flyer on a community billboard at city hall then who would be liable? The city? The billboard manufacturer? The paper maker? The printer manufacturer? The ink manufacturer? The library/Staples/Kinkos where the flyer was printed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    all of the above

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    Are most fireman conscripted?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    NoahFence, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Blame

    It's God's fault plain and simple!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Missing the Point

    Not event remotely the same.

    Put a gun in a retard's hand, you take away the ability of the other individual to avoid an accident. If the mentally challenged person shoots somebody, it is most clearly not the other person's fault.

    However, look at this case. The man chose, by his own will, to attend this gathering. There is no justifiable means of blaming the person who started this gathering, or even the medium in which they used to organize it (in this case, Facebook).

    If we're of the mind to excuse the actions of a person under the influence, then we wouldn't be handing out DUI's and prison sentences to those that have been apart of terrible accidents relating to alcohol consumption.

    It was his own fault - not anyone else's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Blame

    "It's God's fault plain and simple!"

    No, no, no, dumbass, it's only God's doing if it's a GOOD thing from the point of view of whoever's saying it. You should pay attention to post game sports interviews, where you always hear:

    "Yeah, it was a good win today. First I have to thank God. Without him, none of this would be possible. It's only because of him that we won today."

    Yet you never hear:

    "Why did we lose to the Celtics? Because of God, stupid interview woman! God fucked it all up. We had an amazing gameplan, we had the best player in the league, all of our shots were on target, but then God pulled down his holy pantaloons and took a big steamy dump on us. Holy Shit! That's what we called it during that last time out. A Holy Shit on our game. Stupid God, always making the ball clang off the rim..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    MAC, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Missing the Point

    What the hell ever happened to "taking responsibility for your own actions?"

    Am I missing something here? Are we so wrapped up in blaming someone or something else for something that we did have we forgotten about 'personal' responsibility?

    I was injured on a scooter because the idiot I was giving a ride to stood up at speed on a curve to impress a girl. Did I blame him? Of course not, I blamed myself for letting that idiot on the back of my scooter in the first place.

    People need to grow and put responsibilty squarely where it belongs; with themseleves...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    MAC, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Missing the Point

    What the hell ever happened to "taking responsibility for your own actions?"

    Am I missing something here? Are we so wrapped up in blaming someone or something else for something that we did have we forgotten about 'personal' responsibility?

    I was injured on a scooter because the idiot I was giving a ride to stood up at speed on a curve to impress a girl. Did I blame him? Of course not, I blamed myself for letting that idiot on the back of my scooter in the first place.

    People need to grow and put responsibilty squarely where it belongs; with themseleves...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    It's the cops fault for not arresting the mob before any accidents happened.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    And if he simply spoke to people face to face then he used free speech, hence, sue the govt for allowing free speech!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, May 14th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re:

    And of course the RIVER!!! how dare it let some idiot fall and die, we need a Government Org to prevent that part again too...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    IOERROR, May 14th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    We are ALL to blame.

    I think anyone who has a facebook page should be blamed.. I mean if we didn't make facebook so popular then that guy wouldn't have used it.

    Do you think the prison is big enough to hold all the facebook users?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    sdfsdkwerj-24b (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Ok... if you're gonna go that far, it's God's fault and therefore (as an illogical consequence of this), his representative on earth - the pope - should be indicted for this as well.

    Maybe we could include a few nubile virgins and a volcano and have a good old conflagration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Danny, May 14th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh and one more responsible party....every other person that was at the event. If they had stopped him from sliding down the rail he may still be alive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    NoahFence, May 14th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Blame

    "Stupid God, always making the ball clang off the rim..."


    Bwaaahaaahaaaahahahahahahaha!!!!

    Every time I read that, I hear Homer Simpson's voice!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    taoareyou (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Missing the Point

    Imagine if I get drunk and wreck my car, killing myself. Who should my family sue? The store for selling alcohol to people? The government for allowing alcohol to be legal? The company that makes the beer? What about the car company? Or the dealer that sold me my car? Or the gas station that I fueled up at last? Maybe the city for maintaining the streets that allowed me to go buy the beer in the first place?

    Maybe sue them all. They are all to blame. Certainly not me. I died. I must be a victim.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), May 15th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Missing the Point

    "bartenders do not give totally free alcohol access to the alcohol consumption challenged,"

    Gee, political correctness gone completely haywire?

    For the record I'm an alcoholic (in recovery, thank you) not some namby pamby PC expression of the same. The real word, the real condition.

    Second point. When I was out there practising my alcoholism I'd find a drink anywhere I could bartender rules or no bartender rules. I drank it, no one poured it down my throat, though I'd actually have appreciated that sometimes, I'm responsible for my consumption and my behaviour after consuming the stuff.

    As for facebook being a home for fad idiots one could make the same argument about HuffPo (it gets easier every day to do that) or the Web in general so perhaps we should take web access and internet access away from everyone who doesn't pass your idiocy test?

    Hold it a minute! Life is a home for fad idiots! How do we test for those and make sure they no longer have access to life? Got a test for that too?

    hehehe

    ttfn

    John

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2010 @ 12:04am

    somebody mentioned him being a victim earlier...he isnt, as far as i know organizing a gathering and actually gathering is a not a crime, and im fairly sure that you arent a victim of suicide, it seems your the one benifiting in your mind from suicide

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Ben Doom (profile), May 17th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Wasn't there an amendment or something?

    Hmm. Missed that note when I was reading.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    carmen, Sep 4th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    OMG, The cop or public figure who accused facebook should be put away and fired for saying something so STUPID

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    freelance writing jobs, Sep 7th, 2010 @ 3:12am

    That's really sucks. Why don't they blame the company that made this alcohol or that shop that sold him that bottle\s!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Part Timer, Jan 25th, 2011 @ 7:48pm

    Pretty ridiculous

    So if someone from Ukraine shoot an American in China, then China is to be blamed. Ridiculous... LMAO

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This