Reddit Uses Images Of the Boston Marathon Bombings To Pinpoint Potential Suspects


According to an extremely exciting article on Slate, Reddit has assembled loads of images taken at the areas of the Boston Bombing and done some of their own crowd sourced sleuthing. They popular community has created a sub-reddit coined, “Find Boston Bombers.” And through lots of careful analysis they’ve identified two men with stripes on their backpacks. These markings very closely match one of the destroyed satchels found at the crime scene–but of course that isn’t necessarily enough evidence. If the men identified are truly involved, this could be a huge story on how average people from around the internet combined their intelligence to solve a crime.

The community has previously solved loads of crimes. In particular, people in the NYC and Brooklyn sub-reddits sometimes post photos of lost people or pets (or even stolen bikes) and clues end up popping up. Similarly, Redditors are often curious and highly intelligent–a couple of years ago they helped to crack a major code and hints released by the gaming studio Valve to finally show off that Portal 2 was going to be launched.

When the bombings happened, an Instagram hashtag was created entitled, #PrayForBoston–and many other people contributed images to the curation. Lots of these images were from the scene itself.

Full Disclosure: I’m an admin of two Reddit groups–but this story is legitimately about the use of images from ordinary people.