A new documentary gives a unique insight into the largely thankless task of the people who ensure that obscene, graphic or explicit content does not appear on your screen.
The Moderators is a documentary by Ciaran Cassidy and Adrian Chen, a journalist who has written extensively about the mental toll content moderation can have on those involved. It explores the largely unknown practice of moderation, and the people are employed to sit in an office viewing some of the worst content imaginable for hours on end making decisions on whether it should be removed from the internet.
The work involved is so stressful and can have such a psychological impact on that some develop mental health issues, with symptoms similar to those who suffer from PTSD.
Companies like Microsoft and Google offer extensive counselling programs for their moderators, who are normally based in countries such as India or the Philippines. Although plenty of other companies do not.
It is in India where The Moderators features a small team of people who work for a company that provides moderating services for websites. This particular group are tasked with removing explicit photos and fake profiles from an online dating site.
During the training the group are told about how disturbing some of the images are, how upsetting they may find them and how they may be disrespectful to their religion.
If you’ve got a spare 20 minutes, The Moderators is an interesting watch.
Be warned though, some of the images are very graphic.