Dive deep into the internet's dark corners and the chilling tales of people falling down rabbit holes with Netflix's Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet.
SWATting, an act of deceiving emergency services, is now considered a criminal offense, and Brian Knappenberger's docu-series is set to bring focus to such swindling actions. Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet is a six-part anthology docuseries that will explore technology and crime.
Here's everything viewers need to know about the docu-series and swatting.
SWATting and its dangerous consequences
As per the Cambridge University Dictionary, SWATting is the action of making a false report of a severe emergency to the SWAT team. In such cases, the team will go to the person's house after receiving a report from someone who wants to frighten, upset or cause problems for that person.
It is a form of criminal harassment and was derived from the law enforcement unit SWAT, who are equipped with tactical gear and weapons that differ from patrol units and are usually called to situations that are deemed high risk.
Commonly, both the perpetrators and victims of SWATting are players of online gaming such as Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, etc. There have been instances when celebrities have also been victims of SWATting, like Rihanna and Justin Bieber. Swatters have targeted even politicians who have introduced legislation to crack down on this practice.
Journalists like Brian Kebs, who specializes in reporting on cyber security and exposing cybercriminals, have been SWATted multiple times by attackers around the world. Krebs had a nefarious attack where a hacker arranged to have drugs delivered to his house right before the police response team arrived in an attempt to frame him for drug charges.
About Netflix's Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet: Trailer, Episodes, and more
Netflix's Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet is set to premiere on Wednesday, June 15 at 12 am PT/3 am ET. The docu-series is an anthology focusing on different facets of online deception, including IRS heists to SWATing to counterfeit Beanie Babies.
The official synopsis for the docu-series reads:
"Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies & The Internet is a 6-part anthology series from director Brian Knappenberger, Luminant Media and Imagine Documentaries that tells stories of people caught in a dark and twisted web of modern misinformation and digital deception."
It further reads:
"Haunting, bizarre and up-to-the-moment relevant, the series explores consequences of “SWATing”, takes a chilling trip down the rabbit hole of white supremacy, joins a Federal hunt for the suspect of a brazen IRS heist and investigates a murder set against the backdrop of Russian election interference. Rich with distinctive characters and surprising plotlines, reality is warped when the ordinary American household collides with a chaotic web of misinformation."
It is executively produced by Brian Knappenberger, Eve Marson, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Justin Wilkes, and Sara Bernstein.
The official trailer for Netflix's Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet dropped in May and teased a tense, nail-biting, thrilling story. The clip proves how crime becomes easier to commit due to the internet as it has no virtual limits if one knows how to hack.
The docu-series features three separate stories of people that got caught in a dark and twisted web of modern misinformation and digital deception. Each story has a different take on the experience, such as I'm Not a Nazi which revolves around a woman who became a mouthpiece for white nationalist hate speech. Her work culminates in high-profile violence and murder.
S*xtortion features women and their experiences with one man's heinous attempts at virtual blackmail to obtain sensitive s*xual material from them. Stingray, meanwhile, is about a skilled hacking duo who share cyber schemes that landed them in the sights of law enforcement.
Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies, and the Internet features episodes like Death by SWAT, which talks about the consequences of SWATting, which is a harassment technique when a person makes a false report to emergency police against an innocent target.
A Murder in D.C. talks about conspiracies surrounding the 2016 murder of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer whose death was wrongly used by right-wing activists to help exonerate Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Stream Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet from Wednesday, June 15 on Netflix.