We Had To Remove This Post

Hanna Bervoets

Translated by Emma Rault
26 May 2022
160 pages


'A glimpse of the foetid underbelly of the internet' - The Times
'Taut as a thriller, sharp as a slug of ice-cold vodka' - Irish Times

To be a content moderator is to see humanity at its worst — but Kayleigh needs money. That’s why she takes a job working for a social media platform whose name she isn’t allowed to mention. Her job: reviewing offensive videos and pictures, rants and conspiracy theories, and deciding which need to be removed.

It’s gruelling work. Kayleigh and her colleagues spend all day watching horrors and hate on their screens, evaluating them with the platform’s ever-changing moderating guidelines. Yet Kayleigh is good at her job, and in her colleagues she finds a group of friends, even a new girlfriend — and for the first time in her life, Kayleigh’s future seems bright.

But soon the job seems to change them all, shifting their worlds in alarming ways. How long before the moderators own morals bend and flex under the weight of what they see?

We Had To Remove This Post by Hanna Bervoets is a chilling, powerful and gripping story about who or what determines our world view. Examining the toxic world of content moderation, the novel forces us to ask: what is right? What is real? What is normal? And who gets to decide?

Translated from the original Dutch by Emma Rault.

'A superbly poised, psychologically astute and subtle' - Ian McEwan, author of Atonement
'Fast paced and thrilling, violent and nightmarish' - Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
'An acid glimpse into a new form of labor existing today' - Ling Ma, author of Severance

Acid-dipped novella . . . a glimpse of the foetid underbelly of the internet and a sobering consideration of who is deciding what we see, and at what cost.
A chilling page-turner . . . the unreliable narrator gives it a strong literary heartbeat — and it’s richly suspenseful too. With a few deft strokes [Bervoets] manages to incorporate all of the ills of social media into one concise story . . . utterly haunting.
The setting alone is compelling and has always been in need of an accomplished novelist’s attention . . . The dreamlike climax of the final pages is beautifully wrought. Men might usefully confront in Bervoets a writerly intelligence at once so tender and so willing to look into the abyss.