Web of Make Believe Review – But Why Tho?  A Geek Community

Web of Make Believe Review – But Why Tho? A Geek Community

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Web of Make Believe

Content Warning: This series deals with sensitive subjects that may be disturbing to viewers

Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet is a six-part docu-series on Netflix highlighting the extreme dangers that the internet brings with it in a digital age. We’ve all got stories of things gone wrong on the internet, whether it involves ourselves or someone we know. The varying degree to how bad that story went is a where Web of Make Believe stands out as the show documents 5 horrific events that’ll leave your stomach-churning. The series was directed by Brian Knappenberger and features dramatic reinterpretations, interviews with the people involved, and actual media footage.

What jumps out at you immediately after the series is wondering why how we as a culture didn’t see the abuse of the internet coming sooner? It’s easy to wash the warning signs off and claim the show is highlighting the worst of the worse by causing hysteria and saying the internet was a mistake. However, by taking a stance like that, you’re missing the nuance in the episodes and what the documentary is trying to spotlight.

Episode 1, titled “Death by SWAT,” introduces the act of SWATTING within the gaming community. The term refers to calling in a fraudulent criminal event that’s so severe that a full arsenal of police officers plus the SWAT unit gets called to a residential address typically to arrest an unsuspecting innocent person. Utterly terrifying, and what’s even most surprising is that the stakes involved here appear to be such small stakes in some situations, as is highlighted near the end of the episode.

From here, the series gets darker, and while Episode 1 documents an actual crime, Episode 2, “A Murder in DC,” muddies the water even further as they detail the murder of a young political staffer during a very controversial period in recent times . The 2016 US Presidential election. The death occurred around the same time as the DNC email leaks, which caused a hurricane of conspiracies to spiral out of control. Fuel was poured onto the fire as the internet caught hold of the story and some far-right TV pundits promised the family they’d fund their campaign to find the killers. Which took the story in a bizarre direction that forever marred the initial investigation and the memory of the young man involved.

Web of Make Believe is definitely not for the faint of heart because it only becomes a more challenging watch from here on out. Episode 3 “I’m Not a Nazi,” Episode 4 “Sextortion,” and Episodes 5 & 6 “The Stingray” (parts 1 and 2).

Episode 3 possibly filled me with the most rage I’ve experienced and will likely be the most controversial topic of all the aired episodes. The perspective is shot from that of a young woman, Samantha, who was willingly indoctrinated into the far-right movement and lost her grasp on reality as she helped recruit members and organized marches such as the Charlottesville, VA Tiki Torch rally. The very same rally that resulted in a riot and the death of a young woman. I watched in horror at the recounting of events that led to this situation. What is most uncomfortable, however, is that the episode’s tone implies sympathy towards Samantha and her perspective, especially given she’s now reformed. Still, I personally toiled with it because of the irreparable damage that has been caused since.

As was mentioned at the top of the review, however, I don’t believe the documentary intends to sensationalize these situations but more to shine a light on them so that we as a society can prepare to take preventative measures. We can not put the internet back in the box, nor can we choose to pretend like it doesn’t exist or wash it was because it won’t happen or doesn’t affect “me.” The documentary shines a light on the topics at hand because they’re happening now, and ignorance being bliss certainly won’t cut it.

This sums up Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet fairly accurately. It’s such an incredibly uncomfortable watch. The series peels back the terrifying underbelly that’s been allowed to thrive in the digital era that showcases abuses of unimaginable acts resulting in haunting viewing.

Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet, the six-part docu-series, is available now exclusively on Netflix.

Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet

7/10

TL;DR

This sums up Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & the Internet fairly accurately. It’s such an incredibly uncomfortable watch. The series peels back the terrifying underbelly that’s been allowed to thrive in the digital era that showcases abuses of unimaginable acts resulting in haunting viewing.

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