4chan Plays Racist Where's Wally to Find the Boston Bomber

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This article in the New Statesman shows the potential perils of using crowdsourcing to find terrorism suspects. Hern uses the case of 4Chan and Reddit attempts to discover the identities of the Boston bombers. What began as a request by the FBI for information turned into a digital witch hunt motivated by racist and discriminatory stereotypes. Reddit and 4Chan’s campaigns to locate the guilty parties fed into a rampant stream of misinformation, with suspects accused merely due to their conduct and physical appearance. 
Hern’s article will be of interest to practitioners looking to study or avoid the possible negative implications of crowdsource appeals. This includes an understanding of the interplay between crowdsource initiatives and traditional media, including how misinformation on social media can be relayed through traditional media coverage. 

Alex Hern

April 2013