User engagement is a critical metric of success for social networking sites. If community members are frequently connecting and sharing content, then your business must be doing something right. But as social networks begin to scale, managing the massive influx of comments, photos, and videos from users becomes a daunting task. Implementing an effective content moderation system is equal parts essential and challenging. An integrated approach to content moderation involves using an effective automated solution in addition to human moderators, which ultimately results in a more streamlined process and less stress on your team. Here’s a concise analysis of why an integrated approach is often the best solution for social networks that are beginning to scale.
The basics of content moderation
If your business has a web presence where your community members are generating content, you probably have a mechanism in place to ensure that users aren’t submitting comments, photos, or videos that are abusive or explicit. Maybe you rely solely on human reviewers or a profanity filtering software. Depending on your approach, you may also pre-moderate or post-moderate. Some sites like the Huffington Post blogs pre-moderate content, which means all submissions are reviewed before they appear online; others opt to filter through comments after they’re already posted. Whatever approach you take, it’s critical to effectively moderate user generated content in order to protect your online community and your brand.
When social networking sites receive hundreds of thousands of user submissions daily, moderating content is important, but it can also be quite expensive. This is especially true for businesses relying solely on human reviewers to filter out the good content from the bad. Often, pairing up with a business that specializes in profanity filtering helps reduce your costs. For example, one case study I came across recently focused on Tagged, the popular social discovery platform. In an effort to reduce costs and ease the burden on their content reviewers, Tagged collaborated with Image Analyzer, a high-tech image recognition tool to filter out offensive images. The end result was that their total image review volume was reduced by 50%. Image recognition tools don’t completely eliminate human reviewers, but they help provide a first layer of filtering that lets your human reviewers focus on more nuanced reviews that require human judgment.
Relying on a high tech service to help you filter out content that violates your site’s terms of service streamlines the overall process for your employees. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to take an all or nothing approach when integrating an automated solution for your business. Many companies that specialize in profanity filtering offer customized options that support your existing system. Typically, if your business has a team of employees managing user generated content, an effective software platform can simply help ease their burden by filtering out photos, comments, and videos based on parameters that you set. Each company has its own guidelines, terms, and conditions. A solution that’s customized to your needs saves time by filtering out the obvious violations and producing more manageable workloads for your employees.
When it comes to user generated content, you never know what you are going to get. The majority of people in your online community may be sharing thoughts, photos, and images that are positive and acceptable, but there will always be people who try to ruin something good. Human reviewers are frequently exposed to the most violent, obscene, and abusive content on the web. Studies have shown that content reviewers tend to have higher instances of anxiety and depression, as well as other troubling issues. Whether your employees are doing this job or you’ve outsourced it to a third party vendor, chances are some of what they’re seeing is potentially harmful. Finding an effective automated solution to complement your existing review system can help minimize exposure to damaging content and streamline the process. The benefits here are two-fold. Not only are you taking some of the burden off your human reviewers; you’re also effectively reducing your business’ overall costs by adopting a more integrated and scalable approach to content moderation.
If your social network has begun to gain traction and you’ve been reviewing content in-house, it may be time to consider a more integrated approach to moderation. Finding an automated solution can help your business cut costs, streamline your process, and save time. It may also help ease the burden on your employees, by reducing their exposure to damaging content.
Image: Creative Commons user tillwe