The CleanersWith the digital age in full swing, social media has become a staple for billions of people worldwide. We use it to connect with friends and family, share our thoughts and feelings, and ev......
With the digital age in full swing, social media has become a staple for billions of people worldwide. We use it to connect with friends and family, share our thoughts and feelings, and even to document special moments in our lives. However, there is a darker side to social media that many of us are unaware of.
Hidden beneath the surface of the internet are the so-called cleaners. These are the people that are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the internet, by erasing the inappropriate, illicit, and dangerous content that can be found online. Their job is to ensure that the internet is safe and suitable for all audiences, but it comes with a hefty price.
The cleaners are often exploited and underpaid, with little to no recognition for the work that they do. Their job is to search through the endless stream of user-generated content, from social media posts to online forums, looking for anything that may be deemed offensive or inappropriate. This can range from graphic violence and hate speech to child pornography and terrorist propaganda.
Many of these cleaners are hired by third-party companies that have been contracted by social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Despite the immense power that these companies hold, they often wash their hands of responsibility when it comes to the behavior of their users. Instead, they rely on these third-party companies to do the dirty work for them.
One such company is Arvato, a subsidiary of German media company Bertelsmann. Arvato employs thousands of people across the globe to sift through thousands of pieces of content each day, in order to ensure that platforms such as Facebook and YouTube remain safe for all users. However, the cost of this work can be high, both for the companies and the individuals involved.
The emotional toll of constantly being exposed to disturbing and often traumatic content can be overwhelming for many of the cleaners. They work under strict deadlines and must process hundreds of images, videos, and posts each day, with little support or recognition for the work that they do. In some cases, they may not even know the full extent of what they are looking at, due to the lack of context or background information provided.
In addition to the emotional cost, there is also the risk of physical harm. Threats of violence and retaliation from extremist groups are not uncommon, and many cleaners have reported feeling unsafe or at risk due to the nature of their work. This has led to calls for better working conditions and stronger support networks for those involved in this type of work.
In the end, the work of the cleaners is necessary in order to maintain the safety and integrity of the internet. They work tirelessly behind the scenes, often without recognition or appreciation, to ensure that the rest of us can continue to enjoy the benefits of social media. Yet, as more and more content is generated each day, the demands placed on them continue to increase. It is up to us, as users of these platforms, to understand the price that these cleaners pay in order to keep us safe. Only then can we truly appreciate the work that they do, and advocate for better support and working conditions.
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