Greg Barker’s Documentary The Thread is Released Online on 13 April

On April 15, 2013, two homemade explosive devices concealed in backpacks exploded close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three spectators were killed at the scene, around 260 were injured in the blasts and more fatalities were to follow during the manhunt for the perpetrators, which led to a shootout with the police.

The biggest terror attack on US soil since 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing and the week-long manhunt that followed revealed how much the media world had changed since the Twin Towers atrocity. Internet users became actively involved in the search for the bombers as it unfolded, conducting their own unofficial investigations through online communities and networks, and demonstrating the ways in which the face of journalism has been transformed by the advent of the “citizen journalist” and the power of crowdsourced information.

The Thread is a groundbreaking documentary about the aftermath of the Boston bombs that reveals this parallel online investigation and its implications and consequences.

In this case, the activity of online sleuths, notably on Twitter and Reddit, led to innocent people being publicly accused of being the bombers, forcing the FBI to release photographs of the perpetrators, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in order to protect those who were being named erroneously online and to reassert official control of the investigation.

Agents warned media organisations of the “unintended consequences” of reporting claims sourced from these unofficial channels. Directed by Greg Barker (Manhunt), produced by Alice Perman (The Hamburg Cell) and executive produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (American High) and Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire), The Thread explores how the media landscape has been transformed by technology and widespread use of social media.

The documentary features interviews with journalists and bosses of global media giants, alongside the social media users who took part in the hunt for the bombers. A Lightbox Entertainment and Xbox Entertainment Studios production, it will be available to download or view-on-demand on all major digital platforms including iTunes.

The Thread is released in the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland by Content Media on 13 April. For more information visit

Watch the Official Trailer here.

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1. Greg Barker, The Thread. Courtesy of the filmmaker and Content Television.