"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," Reddit general manager Erik Martin said in a blog post yesterday.
"We all need to look at what happened and make sure that in the future we do everything we can to help, and not hinder, crisis situations."
Reddit along with some of its users and moderators apologised privately to the family of 22-year-old Indian-American student Sunil Tripathi, missing since March 16, who was wrongly implicated during a quest to use crowd-sourcing to identify who was behind the bombing, according to Martin.
"The Reddit staff and the millions of people on Reddit around the world deeply regret that this happened," Martin said.
The San Francisco-based news-sharing platform maintained that Reddit, overall, served as a "great clearinghouse" for information in the aftermath of the April 15 twin blasts that killed three and wounded 200.
"The vast majority of these activities were positive," Martin said. "They provided a way for people to stay informed, as well as a place to just discuss, cope, and try to make sense of what happened."
Reddit traffic hit a peak of about 272,000 users when reports hit that a second suspect was captured, according to Google Analytics figures cited by the service.
Self-anointed cyber-detectives took to social media en masse in the days after the bombing, sharing and analyzing photos and videos from cellphones, cameras and TV coverage of the bombing, near the Boston marathon finish line.
Taking the lead from the official investigation, the online manhunt notably focused on people with black rucksacks, posting and highlighting photos of a string of potential suspects - sparking warnings of vigilantism.
Images of Blue Robe Guy, Running Away Guy, Brown Sweatshirt Guy and others have been analyzed in minute detail on sites including Reddit and 4chan.
One of the main forums for online Boston bomber sleuths was Reddit, where a subreddit - a space for discussion on a particular subject - called findbostonbombers has been used all week to exchange comments and images.
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