In an anonymous Manila office, ‘digital scavengers’ or ‘cleaners’, contracted by Silicon Valley, spend hours deleting what is deemed to be inappropriate images and footage from the internet. They are expected to rate thousands of extreme images, from violent events to pornography, every day. There’s a sinister aspect to their roles, heightened by their anonymity, and that of their employers. Inevitably, viewing an endless parade of abuse takes its toll. It’s not only the Filipino workers who are impacted: when they press the ‘delete’ button, they are changing the way we see the world. Directors Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block’s dramatic, must-see documentary raises vital questions about free speech.
Smart, stylish doc exposes must-discuss issues regarding the companies who dominate the internet. – John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
The Cleaners prevails most by shining a light on those whose existence has all but been erased by a flawed system, all so that everyone else can still be heard on social media. – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com