A series of true stories revolving around how reality becomes distorted and disjointed because of online misinformation.
Netflix docuseries Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet will be released on the streaming service on June 15th, 2022.
Created by Brian Knappenberger in collaboration with Luminant Media and Imagine Documentaries, this series is a collection of stories gathered over a number of years covering topics such as fraud, racism and white supremacy, tax robberies, political interference, and terrorism.
With each episode lasting roughly one hour, I wouldn’t binge-watch. There is a lot to take in, understand and wrap your head around. A lot of questions come about after these stories and some take surprising turns. Each episode took me on a crazy journey, opening my eyes and teaching me things I didn’t really know about. A very informative, thought-provoking, and at times unbelievable series.
Technology changes the lives of people, whether they realize it or not. Technology has changed humanity, the way we think, the way we perceive the world, the way in which we learn, fall in love and make daily choices. And do we really understand it? This series has made me look at technology in a new way and I feel scared and enlightened. I won’t go over each episode in-depth, but here are some examples of what this series entails.
Episode one is called “Death by Swat” which is about the consequences of “swatting”, which is a harassment technique that involves a person making a false report to police against an innocent target. People would be calling in fake bomb threats to evacuate schools, and bragging about it on social media, showcasing that they have the power to do this. This episode surrounds the video gaming online community and brings up questions about distance and lack of understanding of the real world.
We have an episode that follows the power of conspiracy theories. How people are susceptible to them, as we naturally look for patterns to help explain what is going on in the world. This is stemmed from the death and murder of Seth Rich. The episode discusses conspiracy entrepreneurs; people who take tragedy and use it for personal gain and who are promoting a false narrative for fortune and attention. Learning about this pattern of behavior and how it can affect people online.
Another insane episode is “I’m Not a Nazi” which surrounds the story of a woman who became a spokesperson for white nationalist hate speech, culminating high-profile violence and murder. This episode analyzes the rise of the Far-Right, and how they have been able to use social media to build their platform. Online you can post extreme videos that you can’t on the mainstream media, and algorithms will promote similar content, having a massive influence on the viewer. The byproduct from this is that you can be misled, misinformed and manipulated.
All episodes are well-produced, there is a lot of intense and intriguing music used, dramatic recreations of the accounts, interviews with friends, family, police, investigators, and reporters, and a lot of information and opinions thrown at you as a viewer. This isn’t a passive watch, you will be active, maybe shouting at the screen, and it will create discussions.
It felt like I was watching a real-life Black Mirror. I was hooked from the first episode, drawn and almost addicted to watching the next as I knew it was going to be a different story with just as much power and punch as the one before.
Overall this series is a must-watch. Each episode offers something different to sink your teeth into. It will capture your attention and make you rethink everything you see and read on the internet, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A great series for opening debates about our social standings and cultures both online and offline. I highly recommend watching this series.
What did you think of the Netflix docuseries Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet? Comment below.