Social Media Monster Image

Social Media Monster

By Alan Ng | June 20, 2024

When the internet was first unleashed on the public, it was initially a place to research information and learn new things. Then, social media allowed us to connect with friends and post cat pictures. But lurking underneath was a sinister force that turned denizens of the internet into…well, trolls. Peter John Ross examines the origins of a particular “troll” in his documentary, Social Media Monster.

Our tale brings us to the reclusive town of St. Joseph, Missouri, with the arrival of filmmaker and journalist Matthew Berdyck. He moved to St. Joseph in hopes of building a community of artists by creating a film and music production studio and, I believe, a steakhouse. Then, “all hell broke loose.”

According to the documentary, Matthew was at the local iHOP, where he witnessed a man assaulting…strangling a woman in the parking lot. Berdyck ran into the restaurant and told the waitress to call the police, which she did.

“…he whipped out his cell phone and confronted a group of men (one wearing a Trump t-shirt) for not helping him…”

The problem was that there was no evidence of an assault except for Berdyck’s word. Being the astute documentarian, he whipped out his cell phone and confronted a group of men (one wearing a Trump t-shirt) for not helping him rescue the alleged woman. The confrontation elevated to the point where accusations of homophobia were made, and Berdyck claimed this confrontation was a hate crime, and the video would be posted online…which it was.

When the police arrived, there was no evidence of a crime, so they left, which led Berdyck to publically escalate the incident. When he approached the local media, they refused to run the story because of a lack of evidence, which led Berdyck to publicly escalate the incident.

The rest of the documentary follows the war being waged between Berdyck and the people of St.Joseph. Anyone who has ever been attacked or engaged with trolls on the internet will immediately connect with this story. The documentary would show that Berdyck would first harass anyone who disagreed with him online with an incessant stream of comments. Then, he would contact his victims’ work, friends, and family and make their lives a living hell.

Social Media Monster (2024)

Directed and Written: Peter John Ross

Starring: Matthew Berdyck, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Social Media Monster Image

"…the citizens of St. Josephs were all united in defending one another..."

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