Sunday, December 1, 2013

Discussion: Should Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear?

After the Boston Marathon bombing, missing student Sunil Tripathi's name first popped up on Reddit, when users drew comparisons between images of Tripathi to the released bombing suspect images. The claim that Tripathi was a suspect then made its way to the Twitter accounts of major news outlets and journalists, and resulted in threats to the Tripathi family even after the Associated Press released names of the real people responsible for the attack.

Jay Caspian Kang's article poses the question of whether or not Reddit really should be blamed for the "spreading of a smear" and explores the chronology of events and mechanisms behind the misidentification of Tripathi as a Boston bombing suspect.

To answer Kang's question, should Reddit really be blamed for spreading information that turned out to be false? Or was it a failure on the part of journalists?

What do you think it would mean for mediums like Reddit and Twitter if it had, in fact, correctly identified the first Boston bombing suspect? What does it mean when @YourAnonNews gets more Twitter followers than some major American news outlets?

Is crowdsourcing a good idea? When looking for information, is the internet too vulnerable to groupthink, anonymity and just wanting "karma"? Or is it a resourceful display of teamwork and democracy?

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