Short film ‘The Moderators’ takes a look at the thankless job of patrolling the web

If you have 20 minutes to spare before you begin your weekend — or after, for that matter — you might enjoy this short film about a small team of content moderators in India. Thousands of such people make sure you don’t come across gore and porn while on social or dating sites, so the least you can do is see what their job is like!

The film, by Adrian Chen and Ciaran Cassidy, is more meditative than informative, but you may consider that the better option after you see a few of the images these poor folks have to pore through daily. On that note, be aware that there are some very NOT SAFE FOR WORK images displayed, for the most part in the background and not in focus, but still.

Something worth considering is that this type of work is pretty stressful, and people in these jobs get rotated out regularly to avoid burnout or even psychological damage. Companies like Microsoft and Google can afford to offer extensive counseling and monitor their moderators closely, but that’s not always the case. Here, these people are taking a rather horrifying and demanding job as their very first one — whether that’s heroic or foolish I can’t really say.

Still, I was inspired by the two managers, one of whom points out that without teams like this, the internet would become a “porn factory,” and the other, training a new group, likens it to an essential service — sacrificing their well-being so that some entitled chump in America can do their dating for free and not get spammed and complain bitterly about it. Well, he didn’t put it that way, but that’s how it works out.