Apparently convinced they could supplement the FBI's Boston marathon investigation, Internet vigilantes on Reddit, 4chan and other online message boards began their own crowdsourced sleuthing shortly after midnight on April 17. But as annotated photos from the scene went viral, some of the self-styled sleuths seemed to back off their quest — noting, as many critics had already, that vigilante meddling could hurt innocent people.
"You may get lucky and your pet suspect turns out to be the bomber," reads a warning post on the Reddit thread "findBostonbombers." "But I've seen at least 10 people singled out, and not all of you are correct. You should be very very careful about picking and choosing who you think might have killed three people and wounded many more, based on where they were standing and if they were carrying a backpack or not."