Longtime FQ Editorial Board member and 2018 MacArthur Fellow Lisa Parks charts the shift in critical focus from the potential of social media platforms to unite people around progressive causes to the need for “content moderation,” the practice of cleaning up digital pollution. Parks centers her analysis on The Cleaners (2018), Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block's provocative documentary that delves into the lives and worlds of commercial content moderators at an unnamed company in the Philippines. The film's account of these digital-labor conditions prompts Parks' critical reflection on a series of issues: the delegation of U.S. media regulation to globally outsourced workers, the problematic trope of “cleaning,” the business of historical sanitization, and the black-boxing of infrastructural information.

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