Boston Marathon Bombs Prompt Twitter Ghouls

Boston Marathon Bombs Prompt Twitter Ghouls

Twitter ghouls have set up bogus accounts to capitalise on the fatal bombs that struck the Boston Marathon.

Some posted pictures of "dead" child runners - even though there were no children running in the world-famous race.

Others pledged to pay \$1 to a charity fund set up for the victims for every "retweet".

The @HopeForBoston profile asked followers - which numbered nearly 5,500 this morning - to retweet the images in "respect".

One picture showed a "tragic" little boy running along with a bib on.

A message alongside it suggested he had taken part in the marathon to raise funds for the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut in December.

Text next to the image read: "R.I.P. to the 8 year-old boy who died in Boston's explosions, while running for the Sandy Hook kids."

A similar message was posted online next to a picture of a little girl wearing a runner's bib marked "Joe Cassella 5K".

The Joe Cassella Foundation, a US children's charity, posted a message on its Facebook page to confirm the image was being misused.

It said: "We would like to clarify that the picture circulating on the web and Twitter of a little girl wearing a Joe Cassella 5K bib claiming to have been killed at the Boston marathon is being used fraudulently."

Meanwhile the @--BostonMarathon handle pledged to donate \$1 to the victims of the Boston terror attack every time a user retweeted one of its postings.

The account was suspended after Twitter users alerted the micro-blogging site, claiming the profile had been set up as a "desperate and pathetic" attempt to accrue followers.

Some social networkers suggested whoever was behind the account may have planned to cash in by selling the handle at a later date.

Others branded its creators "leaches" amid reports the account managed to build up a following of around 2,000 people.

One social networker wrote: "@--BostonMarathon it's actually physically sickening that you're exploiting this tragedy for publicity."

Another user warned: "Please stop retweeting @--BostonMarathon - it's not legitimate. They're doing it to fish for followers and to sell the account later."

The @--BostonMarathon Twitter feed has now been closed. An "account suspended" message appeared on its profile page.