Last updated on March 4, 2019

The Fundamental Basics of Content Moderation

Man thinking about content moderation services

Content moderation is a service with a growing demand. In the world of digital marketing, it is a vital part of enhancing brand reputation, customer security, engagement and satisfaction. For business owners looking to employ content moderation as well as companies planning to include it as part of its array of services, this blog delves into the key components of moderating online content.

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.

 

What is content moderation?

Content moderation text on a laptop

In a nutshell, content moderation exists to monitor and regulate user-generated posts through implementing a set of pre-arranged rules and guidelines. From text-based content, ads, images, profiles and videos to forums, online communities, social media pages and websites, moderation helps maintain brand credibility and security for its online followers.

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. This is why visual content, 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.

 

How does content moderation work?

Content moderation process

Moderating user-generated content can be executed either through hiring individuals to manually check user posts or employing the aid of artificial intelligence. The process will mostly depend on the following:

  • The type of content or online community being moderated
  • The words, phrases or visual depictions that a business owner or brand allows and prohibits
  • The bulk of user posts that a brand has to deal with on a daily basis
  •  

Ideally, there should be a guideline that enumerates the scope and limitation of regulating content submitted by users. For instance, a brand or client specifically prohibits the use of words or terms related to terrorism along with phrases that imply sexual activity. Individuals in-charge of keeping an eye on posts from followers and online community members will use this as a basis to determine which posts to allow from those that are banned or need further scrutiny. User posts with content that are downright offensive and in violation of the set posting guidelines are deleted by moderators.

On the other hand, AI-powered moderation makes use of machine learning in order to deliver accurate inspection of user-generated content. Machine learning for moderating content refers to the process of assigning and inputting a group of information such as keywords, phrases, words, sample images or videos and posting rules to the AI moderator. The collection of information and references is also referred to as the base model.

AI moderation requires extensive base models because unlike human moderators, it has limited capabilities in terms of judging and determining user intent when sharing content. It will only function based on what it is programmed to monitor and assess.

Learn more about   The Difference Between Human and AI Moderation 

 

Types of content moderation

types of Content Moderation icon

Different business requirements, industry standards, and client demands entail wider and more particular forms of moderating content. Choosing among these variations of moderation processes may also depend on the online community that requires the said service. Careful scrutiny should be done to ensure that brands select the type of moderation that works well with their demands and the kind of online presence that they have.

  • Pre-moderation

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.

  • Post-moderation

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.

  • Distributed moderation

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 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.

  • Reactive moderation

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.

  • Automated moderation

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 downside, the absence of human judgment and expertise may limit the monitoring process of such digital tools. For example, reasoning and a deeper level of interpretation are eliminated and sneakier online trolls can continue posting using non-filtered profanities and be marked as acceptable and non-harmful.

 

Who moderates online content?

Content moderator sitting on a chair

Content moderators are responsible for ensuring businesses and end-users are fully protected from harmful, disturbing posts and deceitful offers made by online trolls and scammers. They uphold the guidelines and objectives specified by a particular brand. In other words, they are the people behind the processes 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 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. Moderation is not always about the content—it is also about the individuals that comprise a business’ audience on the internet.

 Learn more about ” The Role of Content Moderators 

 

How can businesses benefit from content moderation?

business owner thinking about content moderation

Employing content moderation is a smart move for businesses wanting to maintain relevancy while boosting audience reach, customer relations and credibility in the digital market. But more importantly, moderating content online aids immensely in the use of UGC to build and improve customer trust and online visibility. Listed below are the top benefits that come with employing content moderation:

  • Online protection

Marketing services and reaching out to customers online can be quite risky thanks to how easily people can mask their identities and use the internet to deceive other individuals and destroy a brand’s reputation. Individuals posting or sharing harmful, malicious and misleading content, either in the form of comments, fake reviews, images or videos on social media and other online communities can be recognized more quickly through content moderation.

As a result, scandalous user posts are kept to a minimum and the necessary countermeasures for damaging content are executed almost instantly. Customers are likewise given ample protection from cyberbullying, online scams and online trolling when UGCs are consistently monitored.

  • Customer perception

Moderating UGCs is not limited to checking whether end-users and online community members follow set posting guidelines or not. It can also be used to provide a more precise resource for understanding customers. Most of the time, customers openly share their experiences, feelings and thoughts online, particularly on their social media accounts. Sharing about their experiences trying out a product or service is also no exception.

It is true that there is no better way to understand a target cluster of customers than through getting in touch with the products, issues and trends that affect them the most. By keeping communication lines open for customers, brands are able to grasp the characteristics and factors that tell their cluster of supporters apart from that of their competitors’. It likewise enables business owners to determine what problems affect their target audience most and devise more effective solutions to these concerns.

  • Purchasing influence

Advertisements on radio, television and print media are simply not enough to influence and convince modern-day shoppers. There are now digital versions of word-of-mouth, and it is a good thing that content moderation can help brands optimize it to their advantage. By keeping a close eye on comments and feedback posted by customers, business owners can minimize negative user posts, use UGC for genuine product promotions and even use not-so-good reviews for better publicity.

From social media posts and reviews to blogs and videos, buying behavior is enhanced when customers read about or watch a fellow buyer’s experiences and opinions when trying out a product.

  • Search engine rankings and online visibility

The more frequently a brand makes use of user-generated content, the more likely it will gain higher exposure online. With mentions, tags and keywords related to the brand name itself, the services being offered and even to the industry where it belongs, content moderation ensures that a business’ online presence is associated with posts that are relevant to what end-users demand as well as to what the brand aims to achieve.

  • Campaign testing and assessment

Marketing campaigns can either be a hit or a miss. Thankfully, end-user feedback can serve as an accurate basis of how efficiently a campaign has met a brand’s objectives for promoting services and expanding audience reach. If a business decides to hold contests banking on user-generated posts, then the role of content moderation is to check whether end-user entries comply with the guidelines set for the said contest or not.

It will also be easier to measure how much impact the campaign has on customers, check and compare how much responses each campaign received, and discriminate significant audience engagements from those that are not.

  • B2C and B2B relations

Having a reliable team of content moderators to inspect brand-related content and community member activities provides opportunities to enhance communication and affiliation with customers and even business partners. Exhibiting commitment in upholding brand and end-user security reflects professionalism and dedication in delivering solid, dependable service at all times. More importantly, people are more likely to follow brands that actively engage with their audience on a regular basis.

best practices, tips and strategies

Aside from the aforementioned benefits, there are also tailor-made strategies and guidelines for moderating content submitted by a business’ end-users. At present, social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are consistently finding ways on how to improve their existing moderation practices. Maintaining a solid plan and a flexible approach to checking UGC is important to –prevent majorly alarming and damaging content from surfacing online.

Among the most common strategies that can be used include:

  • Assigning moderators for different social media pages, accounts and community threads
  • Adding content filters and keywords to automate which terms and phrases to ban
  • Crowdsourcing for low-risk communities
  • Enabling member participation in moderating content, either through flagging or reporting spam and inappropriate comments
  • Expanding the scope of moderation by allowing moderators to check direct messages, comments, reviews and reports sent directly by community members
  • Muting notorious spammers or disabling their account for days

 

Good reputation, new leads and business partnerships, as well as genuine support from customers, are difficult to achieve without a solid system for content moderation

A website, social media page or online community that runs without any existing efficient moderation practices is doomed to fail and lose credibility in no time. 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.

 

How can content moderation service help fortify brand’s reputation and overall efficiency?

Benefits of Content Moderation

The best thing about content moderation services is it serves as a mediator between business owners and their customers. At present, the scope of moderation services encompass a wider impact on product promotions, customer acquisition and retention, brand enhancement and building a strong, favorable influence in the industry.

With lesser reservations for voicing opinions and sharing experiences online, customers are more enticed to contribute what they can especially in the improvement of products and services that they support. Staying tuned to what customers have to say and eliminating content that may potentially harm the brand’s relationship with its customers attract the right leads empower both the business and the end-users.

In addition, moderation is not just limited to content; it also involves a brand’s user-base. And while there are certain risks coupled with becoming a content moderator, without it, the internet will simply be in shambles. From scrutinizing ads, texts, images, videos and websites to encouraging wholesome communication on chats, forums, social media and other forms of online communities, content moderation drives more scalable opportunities for overall development while instilling a strong social responsibility.

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