The internet has become a defining force of everyday life, shaping our social lives, influencing politics and becoming the place in which most people interact.
But despite its outsize influence, at times the internet still feels young, malleable and ill-defined, a Wild West rodeo of the collective id that many in power seem unable to wrangle. To that end, many filmmakers have attempted to grapple with the past, present and future of the internet, seeking to understand or express something about how it has functioned, and will function, in our lives, in three very different projects hitting streaming services this week.
First, the internet’s very recent history is plumbed in Rob Miller’s Netflix docuseries “The Most Hated Man on the Internet,” a three-episode depiction of the rise and fall of internet provocateur Hunter Moore that dropped Wednesday.
Though the events take place a mere 10 years ago, it feels like eons in internet cycles. In the late aughts, Moore — a posturing bad boy from the emo-adjacent music scene — started a website called IsAnyoneUp.com, on which he non-consensually posted nude photos of people, along with links to their social media profiles. It’s shocking to consider that this was even within the realm of legality at the time, but it was — until Moore messed with the wrong young woman and her tenacious mother of her.
Harkening back to a previous Netflix true crime series, “Don’t F— with Cats,” “The Most Hated Man on the Internet” could be called “Don’t F— With Moms,” for the dogged determination with which LA mother Charlotte Laws went after Moore, collecting evidence from 40 victims who were hacked by him and his associates, and reporting him to the FBI. It’s a shocking look at one of the most vicious eras of the internet and a reminder that we are all responsible for shaping the landscape of how we interact online.