Mike Mulugeta is the one of the people falsely identified as a suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing last Monday, according to reports. For much of the night prior to the real suspects being named, the names “Mike Mulugeta” and “Sunil Tripathi” were being spread like wildfire over social media as the bombers. Here’s what you need to know about why Mike Mulugeta was believed to be one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
1. Sunil Tripathi was Falsely Accused First
Sunil Tripathi was the first to be wrongly accused as one of the bombing suspects. It started on Twitter and Reddit with the speculation that a missing Brown University student (Tripathi) was one of the bombers. According to The Atlantic, a girl who went to high school with the Brown student thought she recognized him in the images of the suspects released by the FBI on Thursday. It was a leading story on Reddit and it wasn’t long before his name went viral.
2. A Boston Police Scanner Named Mulugeta as a Suspect
The false name of the next suspect originated at 2:14 a.m. Friday when an official on the Boston police scanner spelled out the following name as one of the suspects during the drama that led to the real suspects’ capture:
“Last name: Mulugeta, M-U-L-U-G-E-T-A, M as in Mike, Mulugeta.”
The official didn’t directly name “Mike” as the first name, but just “M.” And yet, the name of suspect number one was born.
Anonymous News first broke the news of the false suspects who were supposedly identified by the police.
3. The Spread of the Misinformation is the Result of a Social Media Witch Hunt
While social media is a useful modern tool for spreading information quickly and efficiently, it is also useful in spreading wrong information. The spread of Tripathi and Mulugeta’s names is the latest example of a social media witch hunt. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the internet flooded with wannabe detectives scouring photos and videos looking for those responsible for the attack. Countless photos of suspicious-looking people from the race popped up on discussion forums of potential suspects. One Reddit user blames the media for the witch hunts of the wrongly accused.
“Until the media got involved, none of the images were going anywhere but to the FBI,” the user wrote. “Every single article on this subreddit so far reads like the writer took a glance at the front page then wrote an article about it, we explicitly have a list of rules to stop ‘witch hunts.'”
4. Their Names Weren’t Cleared Until Officials Named the Real Suspects
The witch hunt for Sunil and Mulugeta continued for hours early Friday morning until it was officially announced that the suspects were Chechen brothers Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But by then, the damage was already done.
5. Some Suggest the Families of the Wrongly Accused Take Legal Action
Many suggest that those who falsely identified Sunil and Mulugeta as the bombing suspects should apologize for their actions, and others even suggest that their families take legal action. What do you think?