Content Moderation – A Short Conceptual Explanation

Content moderation involves the moderation of various content on the Internet, including written content, videos, and pictures according to a pre-determined set of rules and regulations. It can involve external requirements, like making sure the content follows copyright laws, as well as internal requirements, like ensuring posts adhere to the terms and conditions of a website. Both people and algorithms can be used to moderate content.

Content moderation

How content moderation works

Content moderation involves categorizing, moderating, and rating content on the Internet. It includes moderating the content and comments that are left by readers on blog articles, videos, and pictures that are shared on social media, as well as music that is posted on the Internet.

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Content can be moderated by businesses themselves. For example, a company may assign someone the role of moderating the comments on a blog. Large corporations, like Facebook, have entire teams dedicated to monitoring the content on a website. The agency responsible for maintaining the website may monitor content. Crowdsourcing others on the Internet to help is also an option.

Content moderation

Why it’s important

Content moderation is important because it involves the act of making sure content adheres to local, national, and international law. For example, double–checking blog articles to ensure they haven’t been copied from somewhere else can prevent potential copyright lawsuits.

Moderation can also protect users. Without content moderation, users on social platforms can publish anything they want without consequences. That can expose users to images, videos, and content that is unpleasant. A recent example involves disturbing videos that slipped by YouTube filters and ended up being watched by children.

Content moderators can get a bad raputation. Some believe the Internet should be a place where people can express themselves however they see fit. However, moderators have an important job to ensure content isn’t posing as something else, that it adheres to legal regulations, and they provide users with a positive experience.

Internal and external moderation

Content moderation can be conducted internally and externally. For example, a company may choose to delegate the task of responding to reviews and comments regarding the business online to an employee. If a response doesn’t adhere to the company’s terms and conditions, it will be removed.

Large businesses, like Facebook and YouTube, have entire departments that focus on internal moderation to ensure content follows their terms of service.

Busy businesses have the option of choosing to have their content externally moderated instead. In this case, a separate company is responsible for monitoring, categorizing, and rating the content on a website. With a dedicated content marketing team that is tasked with moderating the content, a company can ensure content that doesn’t adhere to regulations or company terms and conditions doesn’t remain published.

Content moderation

Content moderation using people versus algorithms

Some content moderation involves teams of people who are keeping tabs on the content. In other cases, moderation may rely on algorithms.

Small businesses may not have the budget or the resources to use algorithms, so they have employees do the work instead. Actual people moderating content is the most effective way to provide personalized responses to comments and reviews online, but it is time consuming.

For large websites that publish and maintain a lot of content, algorithms are essential. Facebook and YouTube utilize algorithms to identify problem content based on certain words, phrases, and whether the description matches what is being published. Content can be flagged and automatically removed from the website.

Algorithms work best when used in conjunction with attention from actual moderators. Algorithms often can’t detect things like sarcasm and irony. An algorithm can flag a piece of content, and an actual person can determine whether the content should be removed or not.

With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created on a daily basis, content moderation that utilizes both people and algorithms will continue to be important in the future.