For example, an initial report issued police incorrectly claimed that the suspects robbed a 7-Eleven.
Another false report put out over the police radio said that the suspects had stolen a state police SUV.
The police radio dispatcher advised, "Lots of shots being fired, stolen SUV from state police, copy, stolen SUV from state police." The false report led to officers firing on a Massachusetts State Police SUV that was occupied by another police officer and an FBI agent. No one was hurt but the origin of the false report remains a mystery.
Then there was the Internet’s processing of pictures from the Boston marathon to find as many suspects in the photos as possible, two of whom were splashed across the front page of the New York Post despite not being suspected of anything. It wasn’t just the Post either. Last week The Atlantic broke down how so many media outlets (including them) ran with two names for the Boston bombing suspects on late Thursday night/early Friday morning based largely on speculation from Reddit and not on anything factual at all.
Could the feds be much better? Their case against the first Ricin suspect fell apart within days, while at least one Internet sleuth came to the same conclusion the FBI, with a lot more resources and manpower than her, originally did.