With the abundance of content in the increasingly connected world, it has become hard to control what we end up seeing online and which ones are to be regarded as fact. For the older generation, it’s a mere decision on keeping what we want to see and closing what we consider is unacceptable. For a large majority of users online, it’s not as clear-cut. A lot of users currently going online are within the age range that are still particularly impressionable and/or at an age that can still be influenced by online content both intellectually and emotionally – meaning they can be molded much easier by what they are exposed to as compared to their older counterparts. A study conducted 2014 by statista indicates that between the ages of 15 to beyond 55 years of age, 26.5% of users are between 15-24 years of age while 26.7% are between 25 to 34 years of age. That 53.2% covers the aforementioned age ranges for influence and impressionability. The rest of the 46.8% are between 35 to beyond 55 years of age.
This is why content moderation is a necessary service especially for User-Generated Content (UGC) which is the most common type of content online. The current market requires that any online business understand the fact that the internet, as trivial as it sometimes is, is a very intimate place that a lot of people have comfortably set as their “virtual second home”. And as their virtual home, it provides insights into each and every user, making it the best place to discover the ethics of content generation and content moderation.
Content Moderation DO’s
“Content is king”, that is a fact. But even a king can’t always be right. Below are things to consider as good practices for better and easier content moderation (and in the bigger picture – content management).
Nature of the Business – what do you offer? The nature of the business dictates a lot for what content should be allowed and denied.
Target Audience – always knowing who your target audience is helps create boundaries on what can be considered appropriate and inappropriate. This also helps in creating safeguards for membership or audience range.
Offer Self-Moderation or Community Moderation – by providing this option to users, a business gets to know the target audience even better. Clearly showing their preferences and opinions on various content. A simple system of up/down votes works quite well in this case and leaves the heavier or critical moderation tasks to be done quicker without wasting precious manpower.
Use the Correct Moderation Type – this ties in tightly with Nature of the Business and Target Audience. Does content have a review period or do you need real-time moderation? What types of content are the most common? Do you need a general content moderator or just one for text/images/videos?
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – always inform your users of any problems of issues with moderated content to ensure they understand why one image gets approved while another does not.
Business Capability – this determines whether a business should use filters, internal moderators or outsource to a capable content moderation service provider. Knowing how things will affect the core of a business helps keep it functioning and growing.
Content Moderation DON’TS
Not all moderation is good moderation. After all, one man’s garbage is another man’s gold. Check the moderation practices that affect a business:
Relying Too Much on Automated Filters – programs are only as smart as we make them. A person will always find a way to bypass Auto Filters (like profanity filters). A and extra space there, an inverted character here, a number 3 to replace the letter E, uploading text as an image so it can’t be detected, the list goes on and on. It’s a smart practice to always employ actual moderators to review filtered content.
Being Overly General in Moderation Practices – moderation may seem like an “all or nothing” way of managing content, but not making your moderation practices fit your audience affects your business negatively.
Fine-Tune Moderation for Balance – there are two dangers to moderation that costs a loss in business. Over-Moderation and Under-Moderation. Either of these two can turn a good plan into something that ends with poor execution. Find a way to have users feel free enough to post but not be abusive; as well as guided enough to not lose interest.
Moderation Time – for any type of moderation, the time between which content gets removed and the time a user is informed, is a critical period. Pre-moderation can’t take too long and post-moderation should also never be too late. Notifications should be prompt and direct to the point. This saves the users and the business precious time.
Content Moderation is a messy business. But it needs to be done… and done right. Always be one step ahead by knowing how moderation should be done from the business all the way to the users.