Understanding Content Moderation
In recent times, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook took a strong stand against political advertising. While Twitter completely outlawed political advertisements, Facebook revised its advertising policy and now allows only authorized entities to run political campaigns.
Twitter prohibited political ads citing “political message reach should be earned and not bought”, whereas Facebook revised its advertising policy after a deplorable experience with Cambridge Analytica. Why Twitter and Facebook agreed to stop and regulate political advertising and lose billions of dollars? Why online brands are increasing their spending on content moderation? Why brands are looking forward to restricting freedom of users on the web?
Why Content Moderation is Important?
Why content moderation is perhaps the most burning question? Wasn’t the Internet meant to be free of regulations and democratic? Content moderation is becoming a necessity with the increasing penetration of 3G and 4G network because more and more children and old people are joining the platform. If the digital platforms are not monitored then pedophiles and scammers can impact the lives of children and old people who are not that well-versed with the ways of the Internet.
Let alone customers, lack of regulations and monitoring affects the businesses too. Here’s why content moderation is important
Protects the Brand: Cambridge Analytica data breach cost Facebook $35 billion in valuation and dragged Mark Zuckerberg to the Senate to testify, where he had a tough time explaining how his social media platform works and ensures customers’ data security.
With content moderation, digital players in e-commerce, entertainment, and social media segment can protect their brands from getting misused and maligned like Facebook.
Helps with Customer Journey Mapping: The social media platform and online shopping industry are getting into a unique collaboration where they will rely on each other for sales, customer support, and growth. Customers are likely to try new things and make the most of these opportunities. Brands can use content moderation to map their customer’s journeys.
When you traverse the content generated by users, it gets easier for you to develop an understanding of how your customers are using your services/products. A customer journey map will also reveal the time, mode, devices, and varied other interesting information about the users.
Impacts Search Engine Rankings Positively: From Google to Duck Duck Go, all of them are now putting up fences to keep scammers and thugs away from their platform. In a recent move, Google has revised its advertising policy to restrict ads related to soft porn and adult toys because of an increase in teenage users. When brands moderate content and have fewer content that violates the rules of search engines, they build an authority, which later impacts search engine rankings positively.
Identify and Stop Radical Campaigns: Interpol has reported misuse of online platforms for spreading radical motives and recruiting men for terrorist organizations. Countries like India, Singapore, the US, and Bangladesh have reported similar incidents, where online platforms were used to radicalize minds and recruit them for terrorist outfits.
When platforms like Tik Tok start monitoring content, they can identify such content and delete them before it reaches and convinces nascent minds.
Stop Platform Abuse: Be it recruiting for banned organizations or promoting rumors, such rampant abuse of online platforms is neither good for the enterprises or for the common people. Twitter CEO was incessantly summoned to testify in the US and India because of the increased use of Twitter for spreading fake news.
How a lack of Content Moderation will Affect Digital Businesses?
Here’s how popular brands suffered because they failed to establish requisite checks and content moderation.
Use to Sell or Promote Fake or Imitated Products: In December 2019, Economic Times reported that HUL is taking Snapdeal to court for selling fake products. The official complaint held Snapdeal’s founder liable for selling fake products.
Similarly Club Factory, another e-commerce marketplace got in trouble for selling imitated products online. Nike and Adidas are constantly looking for platforms and sellers that are pushing first copies of their imminent products hence e-commerce players need to adapt content moderation and weed all such duplicate products out.
Malign Brand Reputation: Tik Tok, a short video-sharing social media platform from China got in trouble when a bunch of teenagers used it to create politically motivated videos. Later the brand was taken to the Supreme Court of India and a complete ban on the platform was demanded.
In recent times, the brand suffered heavily when netizens started to rate it 1 star on Google Play Store. Only if they had content moderation in place and had deleted politically motivated posts before it went viral, they would’ve avoided a hell lot of hassle.
Abuse Platform for Political Gains: Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, and popular e-commerce stores have suffered at the hands of political agents. While Cambridge Analytica accessed personal data of over 50 million people to influence the US presidential election, e-commerce stores in Bangladesh were used to sell merchandise that carried hate messages.
What are the Types of Content Moderation?
Content Moderation is applicable to all kinds of businesses that function in the digital space. You can be a social media platform, an e-commerce store, a video sharing platform, or an EdTech platform. Scammers can use your platform to spread hate messages or to generate monetary benefits through illegal means.
Here are all kinds of content moderation services available in the market. All of these are applicable to different players like e-commerce and social media entities.
Pre-Moderation: Popular video-sharing apps and EdTech start-ups are using pre-moderation services to ensure that no politically motivated content is pushed through their platform. In pre-moderation, all pieces of content submitted by users or authorized members are sent for verification. The specialized team relies on a set of provided guidelines to discover violations if any. Facebook ads and editorials submitted on a popular media outlet is a perfect example of pre-moderation.
Post-Moderation: A much-eased approach towards keeping the platform clean of harmful content. In post-moderation services, content that was reported is only moderated. YouTube is perhaps the best example. The platform reviews videos only after they have been reported or found to violate copyright issues.
Reactive Moderation: Designed to offer customers with an eased experience and only screen content when found or reported to have explicit content. Some nascent platforms are looking forward to gaining momentum hence they allow their users to enjoy a certain set of freedom and take action only as a reaction to popular outcries.
Automated Moderation: A lot of media platforms rely on automated moderation where users are allowed to publish their content, video, and images. Once the content is uploaded, it goes live on the platform but then it is also moderated automatically. Such moderations are generally done through AI-based tools, which traverses all kinds of content once in a while.
No Moderation: This generally used to happen a few years ago, when the Internet was not being used for bullying, cyber, and hate crimes. Recent developments have coaxed enterprises to take moderation seriously.
How Organizations Benefit from Content Moderation?
Now that we are well-versed with the benefits of having and not having content moderation, it is time to look at the other benefits that content moderation can offer.
Identify your Peak hours and Peak UGC Time: As we mentioned earlier, that content moderation assists with customer journey mapping, now let’s discuss how it can help platforms. Through content moderation, one can easily identify the peak hours when users are most active and creating content on the platform.
Based on the findings, enterprises can assist their IT team to build a robust infrastructure to support the sudden rise in content creation at a particular time. Such an analytical approach can help enterprises avail resources only for the time being when the traffic is high and save money for the rest periods.
Determine the Impact on Processes and Resources: Internet businesses need to be really well-versed with the latest trends. For example, COVID-19 has led to an increase in the purchase of appliances like TV and Air-conditioners. Similarly, more and more people are creating short-videos related to “work from home”. All kinds of businesses that operate on the web undergo the impact of upcoming trends hence it is necessary to prepare accordingly.
For example, if there’s a sudden rise in demand for an appliance. Owing to the increasing demands, sellers will start uploading a catalog of varied versions. The sudden surge in demand will impact processes and available resources catering to those requests. Content moderation can help identify the kind of logistic, seller, and customer support that will be required in upcoming times based on the report, e-commerce players can up-scale their workforce.
Content Moderation as a Marketing Tool
1. Leveraging User Generated Content for promotions: Content moderation will generally highlight the varied ways in which customers are using the delivered product or services. Customers often put social media posts and pictures about their recent purchase and in order to gain more likes and probably a retweet from the brand, customers put a lot of effort. Through content moderation, all such reviews, comments, and pictures can be identified and later used as promotional material. Customers often apply their creative geniuses to make out something entirely different from common products, which when used as marketing collateral can impact sales positively.
2. Turning customers into brand ambassadors: In contemporary times, we have witnessed people going viral for doing interesting things on the web. For example, a coffee cup that accidentally featured in Game of Thrones helped Starbucks gain exposure worth billions. Recently, a video of Zomato’s delivery agent went viral and it helped the food delivery start-up generate impressive positive brand awareness. Users are always creating exciting content and posting them as reviews and comments on social media and e-commerce platforms. Brands new to moderate these content and use it for their benefit.
Well! There are pros and cons of providing the audience with a free hand. There are netizens who will use the provided liberty to create something exciting out of nothing while some will abuse the opportunity for personal gains. Through established norms of content moderation, organizations irrespective of their segment, audience size, and the business impact can ensure that their platform is free of all such fluff and ensure no misuse for personal or political gains.