cover image We Had to Remove This Post

We Had to Remove This Post

Hanna Bervoets, trans. from the Dutch by Emma Rault. Harper, $22 (144p) ISBN 97

Bervoet’s fleeting yet magnetic English-language debut offers a glimpse into the world of social media content moderators. Kayleigh, in need of cash to pay off credit card debt, takes a job at Hexa, a subcontractor for an unnamed video platform. Along with a ragtag team, she spends her days watching disturbing videos and flagging those that break the platform’s guidelines. While adjusting to the job, she meets Sigrid, a fellow moderator, and the pair start dating, but as weeks pass, exposure to thousands of horrifying videos—among them graphically described clips of self-harm, animal abuse, and praise of the Holocaust—takes its toll, pushing some moderators to their mental edges and inspiring others to subscribe to “flat Earther” conspiracy theories. After Kayleigh quits, a lawyer hounds her to join a lawsuit against the platform along with other former employees, and Bervoets frames the story like a mystery, slowly revealing the fractured relationships and circumstances that drove Kayleigh away from her job. Whether carefully dissecting ever-evolving corporate rules or chronicling a night at the bar with her workmates (“we pour our leftovers into each other’s half-empty glasses”), Kayleigh is an engaging narrator. The story is brief, but it packs a wallop. Agent: Lisette Verhagen, PFD Literary. (May)