Reddit Apologizes For Leading Boston Bomber 'Witch Hunt'
In a heartfelt note posted to its official blog, Reddit, which is not known for its candor about its weaknesses, apologized for its driving role in the dumb vigilante justice that swept up the internet in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing, which in its worst moment mislabeled missing Brown student Sunil Tripathi a suspect.
Reddit General Manager Erik Martin wrote:
though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiraled into very negative consequences for innocent parties. The reddit staff and the millions of people on reddit around the world deeply regret that this happened. We have apologized privately to the family of missing college student Sunil Triphathi, as have various users and moderators. We want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly for the pain they have had to endure. We hope that this painful event will be channeled into something positive and the increased awareness will lead to Sunil's quick and safe return home. We encourage everyone to join and show your support to the Triphathi family and their search.
This is a good message, and much more than we can expect from the New York Post. Although I'd be more interested in what, if any, specific measures Reddit is taking to prevent this from happening next time. Instead, Martin simply writes that "we hope that Boston will... be where reddit learns to be sensitive of its own power." So, nothing.
Update: It appears Reddit administrators actually censored /r/findbostonbombers, the subreddit that organized the witch-hunting. Curiously, Martin didn't mention this in his apology.