"The Cleaners" examines the dark environment of workers who monitor objectionable content for companies such as Facebook, Google, and YouTube.
Sarah T. Roberts specializes in studying commercial content moderators, the “unsung heroes” of the internet. They are the thousands of men and women who cull through what’s posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube and the like, to make sure it isn’t harmful to the 2 billion people who use these sites and apps.
Roberts, assistant professor of information studies in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, has researched content moderators and the toll their profession takes on their mental and emotional health. She has been studying the effects of content moderation since 2010 when she was on a fellowship at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that focused on the intersection of information, technology, society, media studies and sociology. She has shared her findings with people all over the world. Recently, Roberts consulted on and appears in the documentary film “The Cleaners,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 19. At the festival, she presented alongside co-directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck at three standing-room–only viewings of the film where she was able to respond to the “thoughtful questions” from audience members.
For the full story in UCLA Newsroom, click here.
For a review of “The Cleaners” by The Hollywood Reporter, click here.