Hans Block & Moritz Riesewieck: The Cleaners

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A look at the shadowy underworld of the Internet where questionable content is removed. When you post something on the web, can you be sure it stays there? Enter a hidden industry of digital cleaning. Who is controlling what we see… and what we think?

Any video or image can be uploaded to the web through social media. This does not, however, mean that all such material will remain there. Tens of thousands of “cleaners” work behind the scenes to ensure that only approved content is accessible to users. The role of cleaners, hired by companies such as Facebook or Google, is to search for and delete inappropriate content. Although they work undercover, the filmmakers have managed to contact some of the “content moderators” working in the Filipino capital of Manila. Their experiences include the appalling ordeal of finding child pornography or recordings of Islamic murders. The gradual devastation of the moderators’ psyche is not the only problem within this profession. Another flaw is that content is often deemed inappropriate if it does not suit the governments of individual countries or if, for instance, it tells about the reality of wartime conflicts in an alarming manner. At which point does the effort to prevent the spread of evil become dangerous censorship?

2018, 1h25mins
In German and English, subtitled in English
Organized in collaboration with JAP (Jeunesse et Arts Plastiques)

20.11.2019, 19:00 (nocturne)
WIELS Auditorium
JAP members: free
Non-members: free with exhibition ticket or € 5
Upon registration