August 14, 2017

THEY LEARNED IT BY READING YOU, GRAY LADY: Amateur Sleuths Aim to Identify Charlottesville Marchers, but Sometimes Misfire, the New York Times reports:

After a day of work at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, Kyle Quinn had a pleasant Friday night in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague. They explored an art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and dined at an upscale restaurant.

Then on Saturday, he discovered that social media sleuths had incorrectly identified him as a participant in a white nationalist rally some 1,100 miles away in Charlottesville, Va. Overnight, thousands of strangers across the country had been working together to share photographs of the men bearing Tiki torches on the University of Virginia campus. They wanted to name and shame them to their employers, friends and neighbors. In a few cases, they succeeded.

* * * * * * * *

Mr. Quinn, who runs a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research, was quickly flooded with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, he said in an interview on Monday. Countless people he had never met demanded he lose his job, accused him of racism and posted his home address on social networks.

Fearing for their safety, he and his wife stayed with a colleague this weekend.

“You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts,” he said. “I’ve dedicated my life to helping all people, trying to improve health care and train the next generation of scientists, and this is potentially throwing a wrench in that.”

For someone whose only sin was a passing resemblance to someone else — the actual man in the Charlottesville photo has not been conclusively identified — Mr. Quinn bore the direct consequences of the reckless spread of misinformation in breaking news, a common ritual in modern news events.

Flashback: New York Times Publishes [Ferguson policeman] Darren Wilson’s Address.

Ed Driscoll.com, November 25, 2014. And of course, this past fourth of July, CNN doxxed an Internet gif maker for kicks and grins. Or as they say at BuzzFeed, “What time does Justine land?”

Classical allusion in headline.

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