In the Colony of Blooded Eyes: A Trilogy on Working Conditions as a Content Moderator in Germany

A brutally honest first-person account of the psychological scars borne by migrant content moderators in Germany.

by Sakine Mohamadi Bozorg

Trigger Warning

A few comments and depictions can be triggering and we advise viewers’ discretion.

This essay is my contemplation on the labor conditions of migrants in Germany through my job experience as a content moderator. Structured as a metaphorical trilogy, it examines the multifaceted exploitation by outsourcing companies, highlighting the gaps between the judicial system, activism, and the lack of research and knowledge.

As an introduction to this metaphorical trilogy, I pose questions that mirror the working conditions, inviting readers to collectively reflect on the subject matter.

In the first chapter, I guide readers through the content moderation experience, using a metaphorical reference to the dystopian setting of the novel „A Clockwork Orange“ by Anthony Burgess, which was adapted into a film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick.

The second chapter highlights how the misuse of data protection laws by outsourcing companies in Germany enables them to threaten workers‘ freedom. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s concept of action as essential for preserving human freedom, I argue that NDAs violate human freedom and threaten the very essence of humanity. This situation is reminiscent of the execution apparatus Kafka creates in his short story „In the Penal Colony.“ In this context, any attempt at disclosure, as an action to preserve human freedom, is punished. Therefore, NDAs function as the execution apparatus of freedom.

The third chapter is a visual exploration reflecting on the impact of working under surveillance on Sara’s artwork. Sara, a ceramic artist from Iran, began her job as a content moderator in 2018. In this visual narration, Sara and I examine her ceramic works produced in 2021 as a means of disclosing and preserving her freedom.

Recommended citation:

Mohamadi Bozorg, S. (2024). In the Colony of Blooded Eyes: A Trilogy on Working Conditions in Germany as Content Moderator. In:  M. Miceli, A. Dinika, K. Kauffman, C. Salim Wagner, L. Sachenbacher (eds.): The Data Workers’ Inquiry.

About the Author

Sakine Mohamadi Bozorg

In May 2019, after extensive studies and research in Philosophy across Iran, the Czech Republic, and Germany, Sakine Mohamadi Bozorg took a break from academic life. She moved to Berlin and began working as a Content Moderator. This temporary occupation allowed her to explore the culture of silence and anonymity deeply, both physically and mentally. Sakine’s diverse educational background and rich research experience have shaped her into an insightful and versatile independent researcher and essayist.
Listen to Sakine’s interview with the podcast Purple Code. Watch Sakine’s testimony at the European Parliament in February, 2024.

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