The key to cracking the Boston Marathon bombing turned out to be a department store security camera, not the crowd-sourcing investigative skills of social media.
This time, social media did not distinguish itself.
The LA Times reports:
Legions of Web sleuths cast suspicion on at least four innocent people, spread innumerable bad tips and heightened the sense of panic and paranoia.
"This is one of the most alarming social media events of our time," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia. "We're really good at uploading images and unleashing amateurs, but we're not good with the social norms that would protect the innocent."
Even as first responders were struggling to tend to the needs of the three killed and more than 170 injured in the Boston Marathon blasts, Web forums were cranking out rumors that there had been four bombs instead of two, that an area library had been targeted and that the death count was well over a dozen.