Death by SWAT
A Murder in D.C.
I’m Not a Nazi
The Stingray Part 1
The Stingray Part 2
The internet is a technological marvel. From the power of social media across to streaming platforms like YouTube, all the way over to the music revolution in Apple Music and Spotify, there’s plenty to admire and celebration. Unfortunately, this new technology also paves way for more digital crime too. With lawbooks lagging behind and struggling to keep up, the internet is rife for exploitation.
Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet is the latest docu-series on Netflix that looks to tackle some of the more seedy and shocking ways people are manipulated or use the internet to their dastardly benefit.
With the exception of a two-part episode at the end, all of these chapters clock in at around an hour or so and serve as a standalone case.
The first, “Death by SWAT” revolves around the online gaming community and using “Swatting” to take out rival gamers. Essentially this comes down to making hoax phone calls to report serious crimes to emergency services. This ties into police shootings and all sorts of shocking shenanigans that I won’t spoil here.
“I’m Not A Nazi” changes tact and focuses on the dangers of social media algorithms and how that feeds into Far-Right hate speech and dangerous ideologies. Elsewhere, “Sextortion” recounts stories of heinous virtual blackmail, aimed at gaining sensitive sexual material.
Each episode interviews a number of key witnesses in each case, while interweaving that with a good deal of re-enactment scenes too. The music is a tad overbearing at times, but the cases are shocking enough to shrug that off and keep you watching to find out more.
Long will the debate rage about our online presence, but now that we know it’s being used to interfere with politics, society and our own ideologies, a whole wealth of ethical questions have sprung up in recent times.
From a concept that began as a way of bringing people together, sometimes it can feel that the internet is driving us further apart than ever before. Even simple statements, like claiming The Last Jedi is the worst Star Wars movie, is enough to set up new battle-lines across the internet.
Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet ultimately shines a light on digital crime and the more shocking parts of the net, examining the dangers of radicalization and how those ideologies, combined with algorithms and the wonders of anonymity empower and embolden some people to take things too far.
Verdict - 8/10