The Cleaners

Learn about the Filipino workers who comb through thousands of online images to monitor and delete offensive, pornographic, and incendiary content.

female content moderator
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
November 12, 2018
90 minutes
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2018 News and Documentary Emmy Awards-Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary
  • Director

    Hans Block

    Hans Block is a German theater director, filmmaker and musician. He studied music (drums) at the University of Arts in Berlin and theater directing at Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. In 2014, Block became resident director and member of the Artistic Direction of the Box at Schauspiel Frankfurt. Productions there included Mysterien – Unberechenbar werden Show more by Knut Hamsun, Aufzeichnungen aus dem Kellerloch by Fjodor Dostojewski and Flankufuroto by Bonn Park. In 2014, he was invited to the festival “Radikal Jung“ at the Münchner Volkstheater with his production Austrian Psycho, which was awarded the Best Production Prize of the festival. His radio drama production Don Don Don Quijote - Attackéee was awarded as best production of Prix Marulić 2015. Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck work collaboratively under the label “Laokoon” named after the legendary Trojan seer who revealed the Trojan Horse as a dangerous fraud. In their works Riesewieck and Block aim to reveal the Trojan horses of our time. Their projects which they develop in various media forms start with investigations and end up as striking, complex narrations. Show less


    Moritz Riesewieck

    Moritz Riesewieck is a German essay author, scriptwriter, theater- and film director. He studied theater directing at Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. Before he studied some semesters of Economics as a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and worked as assistant director at Schaubuehne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. In 2014 Show more he staged the piece “Woyzeck by Georg Buechner in Mexico City. His Spanish / German graduation production was invited to renowned Heidelberg Play Market. In 2016 Moritz Riesewieck was granted the state of Berlin’s Elsa Neumann Scholarship for his innovative theater works which were shown at festivals in Berlin and Hamburg and most recently at Theater Dortmund. In the same year Riesewieck presented a lecture performance about digital cleansing at re:publica Berlin and at Berliner Theatertreffen. His essay Digital Dirt Work was published by German publishing house dtv in September 2017. FILMMAKER BIOS Show less

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    The Film

    "Delete...Ignore...Delete… Ignore…"
    Someone is out there censoring your social media feed.
    Do their decisions distort your understanding of the world as much as clever hoaxes and "fake news"? They’re hired by Silicon Valley leaders like Facebook and Google to do “digital cleaning," content moderators who are paid to sift through and remove what they deem as inappropriate content on the internet, thereby influencing what people around the world see and think. Told in the sinister style of a neon, cyberpunk thriller, The Cleaners charts social media’s evolution from a shared vision of a global village to a dangerous web of fake news, extremism, and radicalization.