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We Had To Remove This Post    by Hanna Bervoets order for
We Had To Remove This Post
by Hanna Bervoets
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a very timely novel, We Had To Remove This Post by Dutch author Hanna Bervoets. It centers on a group of content moderators hired by a social media platform to spend their workdays reading vile content, watching awful videos, and deciding which posts meet the strict criteria (always changing) for removal. It's an unpleasant job that takes a high toll on moderators, but pays very well.

Kayleigh is good at it, and develops tight friendships with her peers, including a romantic relationship with Sigrid. All looks good for a time, then falls apart. Readers meet Kayleigh sixteen months after she leaves Hexa. She's getting help from a Dr. Ana and is called daily by a Mr. Stitic - a lawyer filing a lawsuit on behalf of her former colleagues, and seeking information and testimony.

Kayleigh mentions some of the gruesome posts that left many of her colleagues with PTSD, the awful working conditions, and lack of mental health support. She tells us that they are not what bothers her most, but rather what happened to Sigrid - what could that be? A group of friends from work often meet at a local bar after their shifts and make jokes that are 'an exciting flirtation with the forbidden.'

The group devolves in what follows in a way that reminded me of Lord of the Flies. Couples have sex in and around the building. They drink on the job. Some subscribe to conspiracy theories - eventually even Sigrid. Then readers learn just how the job changed Kayleigh - and why Sigrid left her. This is not an easy read, but well worth the effort.

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