Like many new inventions or technology, the Internet has its pluses and minuses. With the Internet we have the world, knowledge and other humans at our fingertips. We are able to find out the answers to questions, contact people and buy things without leaving our homes. Those are some of the pluses. As for the downside, the Internet has made it easier for the criminal element to carry out some bad things. Conspiracy, fraud, violence, and even murder have become easier. Or the advent of the virtual world it has allowed criminals to hide easier and made their reach wider.
Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet is an original six episode series that investigates the dark side of the web. New types of crimes have cropped up like SWATing. This is when someone makes fraudulent 911 calls in the hope of bringing S.W.A.T. teams to innocent people’s homes. Not only does this tie up law and order divisions, but has occasionally led to tragedy – the death of the innocent victim.
This is just one of the episodes in this series. The other five deal with subjects such as conspiracy theories and murder, enabling right-wing fascists, sextortion, and hackers carrying out different types of schemes. With each episode you watch the idea that the Internet is more dangerous than its value to us will keep popping into your head.
American filmmaker Brian Knappenberger is the human behind this anthology. His attempt to cast a light on the dark side of the Internet is illuminating and frightening, at the same time. How the Internet, like many other newer forms of technology, has given criminals more options. Virtual blackmail and fraud are just some of them. How about a murder set against the backdrop of Russian interference in the American election? The virtual is becoming reality quicker than you can log onto Facebook.
While all of this and the subjects covered in the six episodes sound very interesting a lot of the oomph is taken out of them due to the repetitive and drawn out nature of each. Probably only the most devoted fan of documentaries is going to get through this series without nodding off once or twice.