The Cleaners

How do online giants such as Facebook and Google deal with problematic content posted to their platforms every minute? They outsource the act of “digital cleaning” to teams of people paid a pittance in countries such as the Philippines, to act as content moderators. It’s these hidden low-paid workers, in giant click farms, that spend long shifts removing posts and deleting accounts. So how do their decisions influence what the billions of people using social media all around the world see and think? What are the policies they are told to enforce? How are they formed and the efficiencies tested? Are the cleaners part of the online world of clever hoaxes and fake news, or are they on the frontline of social media spectacle and furor? This film poses those questions through whistleblowers from inside the click farms, as the rise of social media is inferred from its faux beginnings as a purported “democratic” platform, to the commercial cesspit of extremism, radicalisation, and manipulation that it is today.