“The Cleaners” is a sinister documentary about the work of so-called “Content Moderators”, people who monitor the networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, removing offensive or unsavoury content. This activity has developed into an industry of its own, and the film follows one such organisation with its headquarters in Manila. In ten-hour shifts, tens of thousands of people spend their working day searching for and deleting “forbidden” content such as excessive violence, pornography and anti-constitutional content. The selection criteria and standards of these companies—usually American—are however, kept secret. The film portrays five such moderators who, in their quest to protect website users, are fully exposed to the distressing content themselves. There is no prior training for the job and no psychological counselling to speak of. At the same time, the film shows how rapidly false news and hatred can gain influence and incite people when disseminated on social networks.
The film has received the following awards:
- Film Award for Peace 2019 * Nomination for Best Documentary
- German Television Award 2019 * nomination for best documentary
- International Documentary Film Festival * It's All True 2018 * International Competition and Honorable Mention