The Cleaners

The Cleaners

  • BY Moritz Riesewieck and Hans Block | IN Civil Liberties
    Premiered November 12, 2018

About the Film

"Delete...Ignore...Delete… Ignore…"

Someone is out there censoring your social media feed.

Do their decisions distort your understanding of the world as much as clever hoaxes and "fake news"? They’re hired by Silicon Valley leaders like Facebook and Google to do “digital cleaning," content moderators who are paid to sift through and remove what they deem as inappropriate content on the internet, thereby influencing what people around the world see and think. Told in the sinister style of a neon, cyberpunk thriller, The Cleaners charts social media’s evolution from a shared vision of a global village to a dangerous web of fake news, extremism and radicalization. MORE

The Filmmakers

Hans Block is a German theater director, filmmaker, and musician. He studied music (drums) at the University of Arts in Berlin and theater directing at Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. In 2014, Block became resident director and member of the Artistic Direction of the Box at Schauspiel Frankfurt. Productions there included “Mysterien – Unberechenbar werden” by Knut Hamsun, “Aufzeichnungen aus dem Kellerloch” by Fjodor Dostojewski and “Flankufuroto” by Bonn Park. In 2014, he was invited to the festival “Radikal Jung” at the Münchner Volkstheater with his production “Austrian Psycho,” which was awarded the Best Production Prize. His radio drama production “Don Don Don Quijote – Attackéee” was awarded best production of Prix Marulić 2015. Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck work collaboratively under the label “Laokoon,” named after the legendary Trojan seer Laocoön who revealed the Trojan Horse as a dangerous fraud. In their works, Riesewieck and Block aim to reveal the Trojan horses of our time.

Moritz Riesewieck is a German essayist, scriptwriter, theater and film director. He studied theater directing at Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. He previously studied economics as a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and worked as assistant director at Schaubuehne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. In 2014, he staged “Woyzeck” by Georg Buechner in Mexico City. His Spanish/German graduation production was invited to the renowned Heidelberg Play Market. In 2016, Riesewieck was granted the state of Berlin’s Elsa Neumann Scholarship for his innovative theater works, which were shown at festivals in Berlin and Hamburg and most recently at Theater Dortmund. In the same year, Riesewieck presented a lecture/performance about digital cleansing at re:publica Berlin and at Berliner Theatertreffen. His essay, “Digital Dirt Work,” was published by German publishing house dtv in September 2017. LESS

Film Credits

Directed by
Hans Block & Moritz Riesewieck

Produced by
Christian Beetz

Georg Tschurtschenthaler

Executive Producer
Christopher Clements
Julie Goldman
Philippa Kowarsky

Co-Executive Producer
Carolyn Hepburn
Neil Tabatznik
Robin Smith

Fernando Dias
Maurício Dias
Reinhardt Beetz
Andrea Romeo

Director of Photography
Axel Schneppat & Max Preiss

Philipp Gromov (BFS)
Hansjörg Weißbrich (BFS)
Markus CM Schmidt

Karsten Höfer

Paradox Paradise

Line Producer
Kathrin Isberner

Production Manager
Anique Roelfsema
Zora Nessl
Marissa Ericson

Sandra Zentgraf
Daniela Schöne

Drone Operator
Konrad Waldmann

Crew Brazil
Tatiana Battaglia
Bianca Corona
Kenya Zanatta
Jacob Solitrenick & Filipe Moraes
Paulo Mattos
Paulo Seabra
Rafael Benvenuti
Caio Carvalho
Danilo Chen
Mario di Poli
Thiago Resende
Rogerio Barion

Martin Eichhorn


Automatik VFX

Post-Production Manager
Xavier Agudo

Post-Production Coordinator
Ute Aichele

DI Supervisor
Tobias Schaarschmidt

DI Colorist
Claudia Gittel

Digital Cinema Master Creation
Steffen Görner

Re-Recording Mixer
Jörg Höhne

Sound Designer
Karl Gerhardt
Laura Matissek

Archival Materials Provided by
“Mark Zuckerberg's Keynote @ Facebook F8 16” / SiliconAngle
“President Trump's full rally in Phoenix” / CNN
“Making the Internet Safe for Children, Day 1” / C-Span/National Cable Satellite Corporation
“Donald Trump: Look at those hands... there´s no problem” / Fox News
“Facebook, Google and Twitter Executives on Russian Disinformation” / C-Span/National Cable Satellite Corporation
“Saddam Execution with English Subtitles" / Philligan
“ISIS beheads UK aid worker Alan Henning” / Iraqui News
Aleppo Media Center
Quasioun News Agency
“Facebook, Google, and Twitter Executives on Russia Election Interference” / C-Span/National Cable Satellite Corporation
Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds
“Duterte confirms he personally killed three men – BBC News” / BBC News
“Kurdistan” / Ferhates
“Turkish flag being burned Yerevan 2013” / iravabannet
“Planet of the Muslims” / Trump2024
“Refugee” / Sabo
“Antifa getting what they deserve!!! Best footage!!!” / Domination Station
“Violence anti-raciste contre NAZI aux USA #Charlottesville #UniteTheRight” / Youtube dans le monde
“Insanely Brutal Fighting at #March4Trump – Berkeley, CA” / Spring Break
“Trump Supporters chase Antifa down the street at FREE SPEECH Rally in Berkeley” / SHUTTERSHOT45
“Recent violence in Meikhtila_Burma Buddhist '969' mob strikes Part 2” / Iran Clips
“Keni Prang Camp on fire” / Mir Ahmed Siddiquee
“Rohingya Muslims hated and hounded from Burmese soil” / Dr. Homsi Fans
“Rohingya Village Being Burned – October 2016” / restlessbeings

Commissioning Editors
Christiane Hinz and Jutta Krug – WDR
Eric Friedler - NDR
Rolf Bergmann - RBB
Barbara Truyen - VPRO
Cae Coelho – PlayTV
Mandy Chang - BBC

Funding Provided by
Agência Nacional do Cinema (Ancine) through their Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA)
via the Regional Bank of Development (BRDE)
Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union

Acquired for Distribution by
Blue Ice Docs
I Wonder Pictures
Yes Docu
RTV Slovenia

Original Series Funding Provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Wyncote Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

THE CLEANERS is a production of GEBRUEDER BEETZ FILMPRODUKTION KÖLN GMBH in association with WDR, Grifa Filmes, NDR, RBB, BBC, VPRO and PlayTV.

This program was produced by GEBRUEDER BEETZ FILMPRODUKTION KÖLN GMBH & CO. KG which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2018 GEBRÜDER BEETZ FILMPRODUKTION KÖLN GMBH & CO. KG. and Filmart Produções. All rights reserved.

Who should control expression? By what criteria should they use to edit what we’re exposed to? What other solutions do you see for keeping the most disturbing things off the internet, without censoring? Would you know what to delete and what to ignore?


  • Sundance Film Festival
    Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema Documentary (Nominee)
  • German Director's Award METROPOLIS 2018
    Best Director - Documentary
  • International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights
    Gilda Vieira de Mello Award
  • It's All True - International Documentary Film Festival
    Honorable Mention
    Best European TV Documentary of the Year


Please review our comment guidelines.
Who should control expression? By what criteria should they use to edit what we’re exposed to? What other solutions do you see for keeping the most disturbing things off the internet, without censoring? Would you know what to delete and what to ignore?