Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11/07/2018- ‘’These are backroom deals that general public has not much information about. When these governments in kind of a back channel way go to companies and say : “ We want you to restrict this expression on your platform.”, it will push companies overtime to make these decisions on their own. And they have to make decisions about what the law means so that the companies are deciding what’s lawful and what’s not, what’s illegal and what’s legitimate. And that outsourcing to companies, I think should be quite disturbing to people in Democratic societies, “ says UN Special Rapporteur On Freedom Of Expression, David Kaye in The Cleaners.
This eye opening and I’m sure for some people even shocking documentary reveals the hidden shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the internet rids itself of what it doesn’t like, such as violence, pornography and some political content. Silicon Valley leaders like Facebook and Google hire content moderators to remove what they deem as inappropriate content on the internet. But who are those people who decide what’s inappropriate and what’s not? In society where any kind of information is available to anybody with a smartphone and internet connection, how much do we really know and how much is hidden, deleted and censored even in Western Countries that are supposed to be the epitome of democracy and freedom of speech?
In the past couple of years we have experienced a lot of public speakers and political activists being banned from social media for expressing somewhat controversial opinions or ideas but by no means ‘hate speech’ as we like to call it. The Cleaners features a story of nude art being banned from social media just because the artist portrayed our political leader in an unflattering light. We also see Sabo- the mastermind behind some of the most provocative billboards in LA. He’s been banned from social media countless times for expressing his political beliefs and doing it in rather ballsy way.
We follow several people in Manila, Philippines. They are hired by some of the biggest companies in The U.S. to censor their content. “You are not allowed to commit one mistake. If you make one mistake you can ruin one or more than one life. It could trigger war. It could trigger bullying. It could trigger killing one’s life (sic), “ says one of the content moderators.
What I loved about The Cleaners the most in addition to the exceptional cinematography and how brave it was to create something so staggering, is that it wasn’t bias and it didn’t try to push a certain opinion down my throat- it lets you discover and think for yourself, as we all should.
The Los Angeles theatrical opening of The Cleaners on November 23rd exclusively at the Laemmle Monica Film Center.