Manila is home to a gigantic shadow industry of digital cleaning. It employs tens of thousands of people working 10-hour shifts for the big Silicon Valley corporations, deleting offensive photos and videos from social media sites.
Manila is a global content moderation hub for social media providers. This two-part documentary reveals how an army of low-paid contractors is tasked with deleting harrowing visual material from the internet. Complex decisions on censorship are delegated to people working under highly secretive criteria and stipulations. With some content not so easy to erase from their minds, viewing and rating an endless stream of often deeply disturbing images every day can have a lasting psychological impact. At the same time, the content reviewers are prohibited from talking about their experiences.
While examining the stories of five moderators, the film also addresses the global repercussions of online censorship and shows how fake news and hate speech are amplified by social media – which provide platforms for those eager to add fuel to existing social and political conflicts.
This debut production by filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck looks at the rise and fall of the utopian dream of social media. It asks what limits there could and should be to the influence of the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on our societies.
Part 2: youtu.be/IKrreyG89P4