In a world of fake news, alternative facts, cyber bulling, hacking and the mere debate over the validity of free speech comes an incredibly timely and important documentary.
The Cleaners goes beyond the computer screen to explore the people and methods employed by social media and technology companies to moderate content posted on the various platforms.
The film initially does this by explaining the protocols which define acceptable and unacceptable material, which is sometimes controversial and debatable in and of itself. What is “art” and what is “obscenity” is a common question according to the film. Perhaps the scariest piece of knowledge garnered from the film is the speed at which these decisions must be made, according to one source in the film eight seconds is considered a long time to make a judgement call.
The element which takes this film to the next level though is its exploration of the impact such a job has on the individuals who must review all of this material, some of which is unspeakably horrendous.
The Cleaners is a compelling film which has the viewer questioning whether internet moderation is helping to quench the flames or is it pouring fuel on the fire, both societally and individually.