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The Cleaners – Im Schatten der Netzwelt

The documentary portrays content moderators who look at thousands of pictures and videos on facebook, twitter, and instagram day after day and decide whether they have to be deleted or censored.

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THE CLEANERS, a documentary by Hans Block and Moritz Riesewick, is coming to cinemas at just the right time: the debate surrounding facebook, Cambridge Analytica, the possible manipulation of the US election, and Fake News are hot topics and questions about the necessity of regulating social media are intensifying which raise many ethical questions. THE CLEANERS succeeds in raising the issue to some extent.

First and foremost the filmmakers tell the story of the so-called outsourced content moderators that do their job in low-wage country The Philippines which consists of watching images and videos that have been uploaded onto facebook, twitter, and instagram every day and deciding whether to delete or censor them. Considering the amount of photos with pornographic and glorified violence it is a necessary job that does often lead to censorship, like when satirical caricatures or classic paintings with nudity are deleted in the same way that photos of child pornography or beheadings are. The handling of images and data that are exposed to more people every day that could be manipulated by known and unknown people and possibly determine the election results is clearly problematic. Is it the task of facebook and other social media to control what you see on the websites or aren‘t they just open platforms that are needed but can also be abused? The directors of THE CLEANERS unfortunately don‘t have an opinion on the matter which makes their film seem like a first attempt to ask a question that is in urgent need of being answered.

Michael Meyns

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Original title: The Cleaners – Im Schatten der Netzwelt
Deutschland 2018, 88 min
Language: English
Genre: Documentary
Director: Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
Author: Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
DOP: Axel Schneppat, Max Preiss
Montage: Philipp Gromov, Hansjörg Weissbrich, Markus CM Schmidt
Music: John Gürtler, Jan Miserre, Lars Voges
Distributor: Farbfilm Verleih
Release: 17.05.2018

Website
IMDB

Screenings

Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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