6 podcasts about the dark side of the internet

Starter Episode: “What did you take?”

Started during the early days of quarantine in March 2020, this affable show feels like eavesdropping on a conversation between two internet-savvy friends. One of the hosts, Ryan Broderick, co-hosted the much-loved Buzzfeed podcast ‘Internet Explorer’, bringing the same curious, informational energy to this series about online content in all its forms. Broderick’s relationship with his co-host, British journalist Luke Bailey, keeps the tone light and accessible, even when the subject is complex. Recent episodes have focused on mainstream tech stories — the crypto crash, the Netflix bubble bursting — but others go down really weird rabbit holes, like the mysterious world of Katie Couric CBD Scam on Facebook.

Starter Episode: “The Facebookification of Netflix”

A vigilante hacker and a persistent reporter team up to take down a massive child porn website. As gripping as the summary suggests, this extraordinary and horrifying true story is a co-production of CBC Podcasts and Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang. “Hunting Warhead” delves into the depths of the dark web, following a months-long investigation by Einar Stangvik, the hacker, and Hakon Hoydal, the journalist, that ultimately led to the downfall of a local politician. The show’s unwavering approach makes for difficult listening: in addition to talking to the researchers, the host, Daemon Fairless, interviews the websites owner, Ben Faulkner, who is currently serving a 35-year sentence.

Starter Episode: “Hacker vs Hacker”

At the end of 2014, the film industry was rocked by a very embarrassing hack† After Sony Pictures employees showed up for work one morning to discover their computers were unusable, piles of confidential company data began leaking online, including salaries, contracts and unflattering email exchanges between executives. In a bizarre twist, the hack turned out to be motivated by the impending release of a movie called “The interview,” (starring Seth Rogen and James Franco), who depicted a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. This wry, lavishly reported podcast from the BBC World Service chronicles every twist and turn of the saga and its implications far beyond Hollywood.

Starter Episode: “Hollywood Hacking”

When this WBUR series started, in 2017, it was a collaboration with Reddit. At the time, the hosts, Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson, told stories specifically inspired by the quixotic virtual communities Reddit creates and the everyday mysteries it sheds light on. (A classic episode centers on a Reddit thread about a man who stumbled upon a huge, inexplicable thing stack of plates in rural Pennsylvania.) Its partnership with Reddit has ended and “Endless Thread” has expanded to explore internet culture more broadly — last year it debuted a delightful miniseries that digs into the backstories behind various memes Like it the rickroll† While the tone is generally light-hearted, the show’s subjects are just as unpredictable and chaotic as the internet itself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *