Users of the social news site Reddit are drawing criticism this morning for incorrectly identifying an 86-year-old grandmother from North Dakota as a "person of interest" in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Marilyn Hagerty of Grand Forks has reportedly gone into hiding to protect herself from media scrutiny following accusations on Reddit that she ate dinner with the two bombing suspects at a Boston-area Olive Garden on the night of the incident.
"I was on Twitter yesterday to find new pictures of flowers," Hagerty explains. "I kept getting the rudest messages from these young 'Redditors.' They were accusing me of the most terrible things.
"After the fourth reporter showed up at my house, I went to stay with my daughter. She has a nice beautiful house. It is a white ranch with a white roof.
"When I arrived she offered me lemonade, but I decided to drink tea instead. It has been a very strange experience."
The incorrect outing of Hagerty comes just one day after users on the site falsely accused a missing Brown University student of being one of the bombers.
Both incidents have caused observers to call for a moderation of the "vigilante justice" culture on the Internet's most popular news website.
In an exclusive interview Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, however, dismisses the criticism out of hand.
"Reddit isn't a website," he explains, "it's a revolution. Sometimes during a revolution, people get hurt. Too bad. We're the future of media. A user-generated democratic utopia.
"You may criticize us now over our inability to help law enforcement. But just wait. Within two decades Reddit will have eliminated war, hunger, disease and poverty across the world.
"The mainstream media can't understand. Mainstream people with mainstream attitudes can't understand. Only true committed Redditors can understand just how fast Reddit is changing the art of being a human being.
"Marilyn Hagerty is nothing! Nobody. She's just a bump in the road on the way to a global Reddit revolution where human beings can finally attain electronic nirvana."
Reddit was launched in 2005, and has since become one of the most popular websites in the world. It is owned by newspaper giant Advance Publications.