November 21, 2017

Inside the World of Content Moderation: The 3 W’s and 1 H of Regulating Online Content

Man thinking about content moderation services

You’ve probably come across the service, ‘content moderation’ from time to time, but may not have enough familiarity to truly understand the purpose of this type of assistance. Whether you are looking into employing moderating content or are offering it as part of your company’s services, this blog will help you delve deeper into what makes content moderation services a vital part of protecting your customers, driving higher end-user engagement and providing higher customer satisfaction.

Let’s explore the 4 W’s and 1 H defining the factors that make content moderation a well-oiled machine for various modern-day businesses.

What is content moderation?

In a nutshell, content moderation services exist to monitor and regulate user-generated posts through implementing a set of pre-arranged rules and guidelines

Social platforms and review websites have made end-user posts among what customers regard as credible and trustworthy sources for when they want to learn more about a particular company or service. At present, brands that have an online presence find it hard to thrive among their competitors with the absence of user-generated content. Thus, regardless of the risk, more and more business owners adapt the practice of publishing content created by their community members.

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Scalable content moderation is highly important for brand and user protection especially for businesses that run a high amount of campaigns and are looking into expanding their online network of supporters.

  • Who moderates content posted online?

Moderators for online content are present in social media pages, websites, and forums. Content moderators are responsible for ensuring your brand and end-users are fully protected from harmful and degrading posts made by members of your online community. They uphold the guidelines and objectives specified by a particular brand. In other words, they are the people behind the process involved in screening user-generated posts, along with giving the green or red light for content uploaded by end-users. Content moderators also have the power to remove or ban members who violate in-house rules or threaten their fellow users.

A good and reliable content moderator must be adamant at exercising level-headed analytical skills as well as have commendable exposure and experience in online community involvement. Whether it is through social media pages, Facebook groups, blogs, or forums, having sufficient background on the dynamics of how people behave, form connections and exchange information online will bring forth clearer and more realistic decision-making. Not only that, adequate knowledge in handling multiple platforms used by several of today’s brands, good grammar and a wide vocabulary will surely boost how moderators will screen and manage all content on the business’ website and pages. But more than checking member posts, effective content moderators should be able to promote wholesome and meaningful interaction among the end-users.

  • Where do content moderation practices vary?

Different business requirements, industry standards, and client demands entail wider and more particular forms of moderating content. Each variation of regulating content posted about your brand has its pros and cons, and so careful scrutiny should be done to ensure you acquire the type that works best for your business.

1. Pre-moderation

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With pre-moderation, you employ moderators to double check content submitted by your audience before it is made viewable to the public. From comments and product/service reviews to posts in multimedia form—these are all examined to ensure the brand’s continuously growing online community is well-protected from any potential harm or legal threats that may put the customers and the business in jeopardy.

Pre-moderation is truly ideal for businesses that desire to maintain their online reputation and branding. On the down side, it has the tendency of delaying ongoing discussions of your online community members since reviewing user-generated posts eliminate the possibility of real-time posting and conversation.

2. Post-moderation

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Contrary to pre-moderation, post-moderation makes way for real-time conversations and immediate posting because the content is checked after it is posted. Such variation of moderating content works best for websites that have social media channels, forums, and other forms of active online communities.

Moderators make use of a specific tool enabling them to duplicate each post and have a closer look at the details of each content. From there, moderators can decide whether to retain or delete the post. Business owners should consider the ideal size of dedicated moderators to hire, otherwise this will be very crucial should the community rapidly doubles in size and the bulk of content to be checked overpowers the manpower available to do the job.

3. Distributed moderation

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A rating system is used in distributed moderation, allowing community members to cast their votes on certain submissions. Based on an average score decided by several members, the voting process will determine whether the contents submitted by their fellow users are in line with the community’s objectives and posting regulations or not. Usually, the voting should go hand-in-hand with supervision from the site’s senior moderators.

Rarely do businesses opt to entrust content moderation services to their users due to the risks that it imposes on a legal and branding basis. Distributed moderation encourages higher participation and productivity but does not guarantee full-on security or faster posting. It is therefore more suited for smaller businesses since employing a member-enforced method of moderation effectively boosts existing manpower and resources.

4. Reactive moderation

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This type of moderation also relies on end-user judgment wherein it functions based on the assumption that the users actively remove and flag all forms of inappropriate content posted on the website. To enable exhausting the cost-effective advantages of reactive moderation, a brand requires a solid and dedicated audience that’ll keep a meticulous eye out on user posts harboring latent harm to fellow users and to the business.

5. Automated moderation

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If there are human-powered moderation methods, then there is also a type of moderation run by specifically designed technical tools. Automated moderation works by using specific content moderation applications to filter certain offensive words and multimedia content. Detecting inappropriate posts becomes automatic and more seamless. IP addresses of users classified as abusive can also be blocked through the help of automated moderation. On the down side, the absence of human judgment and expertise may limit the monitoring process of such digital tools. For instance, reasoning and a deeper level of interpretation is eliminated and sneakier online trolls can continue posting using non-filtered profanities and be marked as acceptable and non-harmful.

  • How can content moderation help fortify brand reputation and a business’ overall efficiency?

Imagine a website or page that runs without any existing efficient moderation practices—that particular business is doomed to fail and lose credibility in no time

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Content moderation services allow opportunities for business owners to determine what their target audience and customers have to say about their products and services. It bridges the gap between service providers and end-users as it continues to secure a brand’s online reputation and promote bigger, more collaborative promotional innovations. Retweets, Facebook discussions, and forum threads speak volumes about the behavioral and affective responses of customers coming from different demographics.

As such, through the bulk and variety of insightful user-generated data, a brand can quickly enlarge its data base, tailor future campaigns to make it more customer-centric, and ultimately have a clearer perspective on what their end-users truly demand and need.

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