Businesses with any online presence must understand that content moderation is vital in their trust and safety measures, especially now that consumers generate content and social media is an important support channel. Because customer trust impacts brand loyalty and success, safeguarding your online communities becomes a need when your company's reputation is at stake.
Policy is Key
The number of internet users grow every year. With about 5 billion internet users, how do brands ensure that audiences trust their online entities and that users can safely navigate their assets without much external threat?
It seems that policy change is key—but it must undergo constant evaluation because everything online moves much quicker than most companies dare consider. Creating a governance framework to guide your brand’s content moderation helps both your reputation and the well-being of your content moderators.
Millions of user-generated content (UGC) are uploaded to multiple social media sites every day. Many of those come from brands themselves that maintain an online presence, in hopes of connecting better with their audiences. Brands are battling various points here, but there’s emphasis on these two:
- When someone publishes false or harmful content about a brand, consumer backlash is often close behind. Brands risk endangering their reputation, revenue stream, and trust.
- Without established community guidelines, removing UGC and other harmful content (e.g., bad reviews, trolls, fake news, etc.) can bring censorship accusations to your doorstep.
Each time we improve the technology available to consumers, we can expect a retaliation cycle from entities seeking to test, outdo, and cheat the system. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and automation are learning very quickly to adapt to the endless depths of online brand management and fraud, but are they learning fast enough?
Critical Considerations for a Governance Framework
Content moderation is an important component when evaluating the quality of internet access audiences receive. Digital asset owners have been looking after their online assets for decades. On a micro scale, monitoring comments and activities in online communities and websites have been standard practices for decades. But with the machinery that bad actors are now using and the amount of egregious (e.g., violence, child safety) content that ends up online, simple monitoring is no longer enough as algorithms and policies constantly change.
By now, companies should have a fairly good grasp on the importance of content moderation in growing the trust and safety of a brand. Here are five things you should consider when creating or improving your governance framework:
- What principles dictate the content we provide with our audiences? How does it impact how you moderate your content? Figure out which organizational processes you have in place that may guide or impact your online moderation framework.
- Most content moderation practices are anchored upon country-level considerations, which presents a challenge for global companies. Different laws on data privacy, ownership, and online safety are often in place. With that in mind, consider the optimal size of operations and business need for each of your locations.
- Brands handling egregious—and even semi-egregious—content must prioritize employee well-being. If your content moderators are not looked after, your brand’s reputation may take a hit in a more public, and possibly, global scale.
- What is the volume and complexity of the content you need to moderate? Are they egregious, non-egregious, or somewhere in the middle? This can help you decide if you need an in-house, vendor mix, or third-party help—keep in mind that most egregious content work should be performed in an office environment to ensure risk management.
- Companies can use automated solutions, but they may not be mature enough to fully replace human moderators yet. Human moderators are better at noticing cultural nuances, special characters used to disguise abusive content, visual variants, contextual understanding, and other details. Human limitations (e.g., turnaround, fatigue, mental stresses) can be mitigated by technology, such as ML and AI. The key is getting the balance of human and machine content that works for your brand.
Customer trust affects your reputation, revenue, and brand loyalty. Content moderation, as an integral piece of trust and safety measures, involve critical processes and decisions that protect your audience and employees from damaging, inflammatory, and untruthful content. It’s always best to follow the data you’ve gathered to create better content, communities, and risk management for all because customers still choose value-based services over cost and efficiency.
Download the HFS Research white paper: The Content Moderation Playbook to learn more about creating a strong trust and safety framework for your brand.