Reddit apologizes for 'online witch hunt' for Boston bombing suspect
In a testament to the issues surrounding the appropriate use of social media during a tragedy, Reddit is publicly apologizing for the role that it played last week in fueling an online witch hunt that led to identifying an innocent Brown University student as a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Prior to the F.B.I.'s identification of brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as suspects, a group of users on the link-sharing site took it upon themselves to pool their resources, poring over video footage and photographs taken at the bombing site, in an effort to identify a suspect on their own.
The result of the group's actions, which Reddit said started with noble intentions but became an "online witch hunt," led to their naming of Sunil Tripathi, an undergraduate at Brown University who has been missing since March 16. Tripathi's name went viral after a committed group of Reddit users agreed that previous photographs of him bore a resemblance to surveillance images of possible suspects taken at the scene of the bombings.