‘Mark Zuckerberg is now the front page editor for every newspaper in the world, effectively.’
This revelatory documentary confronts the dark underworld of the internet, revealing a shadow industry of ‘digital cleaning’ that controls the posts we see online. The film follows five of these digital cleaners, who are outsourced by Silicon Valley to the global headquarter for content moderation in the city of Manila in the Philippines. During a ten-hour shift, the cleaners observe and rate thousands of images and videos – many of which depict extreme violence or abuse, which leads to lasting psychological impact.
As the film turns to individuals affected by online censorship, it takes a macro perspective on the role of the cleaner; are they acting as a public service defending the safety of the online community, or are they making major editorial decisions affecting freedom of speech? Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.
Screening daily from Fri 24th August, please check back for more times and dates to be announced on Tue 21st Aug.
The Cleaners is presented in partnership with Human Rights Watch Film Festival, 14-22 March, 2019.