Inside Reddit’s user community, an enthusiastic amateur forensics subculture grew exponentially once the subreddit was formed. When Fast Company reported on the subreddit’s existence at the beginning of the week, it had approximately 870 subscribers; more than 9,000 Redddit users now patronize the site. The hunt for the Boston bombers on Reddit appears to have been the Internet’s largest crowdsourced crime-solving exercise to date—regardless of law enforcement’s feelings about it.
Despite the presence of racist and anti-right wing trolls, Reddit users did find a number of important clues. Sleuths on Reddit identified the hat worn by one of the bombers; the same thread also featured the highest resolution pictures of one of the bombing suspects to date—which was flagged by Reddit users as potential evidence.