How to Succeed With User Generated Content Moderation

Learn about and leverage user-generated content moderation, a key tool for protecting your brand and building a much safer online community

Published on September 28, 2023
Last Updated on December 20, 2023

An overwhelming amount of content is increasingly being shared online, now more than ever before. This surge in content sharing, which is expected to not only grow or accelerate, emphasizes the increasing significance of user-generated content moderation for businesses, as it safeguards both their brand's reputation and the experience of both their customers and users.

But how exactly does moderation work, and why does it increasingly matter for your business? In this guide, we will dive into the world of user-generated content (UGC), the moderation process, and its importance in an increasingly digital landscape.

User-Generated Content in a Glance

User-generated content is defined as any kind of content created and shared by customers or users of an online platform. These Could be a heartfelt product review on a shopping website, a well-thought-out lifestyle image on a social networking platform, or a lively discussion thread on a forum. 

The freedom to create content enables users to move beyond being passive consumers, allowing them to express their unique and genuine viewpoints, which businesses can leverage to enhance customer engagement, strengthen brand loyalty, and obtain improve output quality. 

However, the influx of user voice, creativity, and, insight doesn’t come without its persistent challenges. As more users join a conversation, the chances of inappropriate or offensive content popping up also rise. 

How User-Generated Content Moderation Works and Why It Matters

UGC content moderation functions as a safety net that filters all user posts against a set of predefined policies to ensure an online platform remains constructive, respectful, and safe. Moderation allows businesses to manage their online reputation effectively, ensuring that their content is brand-compliant, appropriate, and positively contributes to the overall user experience. 

The user-generated content moderation process involves monitoring, reviewing, and managing posts for various aspects such as:

Spam and Bots

Moderators search for and delete posts that are repetitive, sometimes created by bots to engage users and keep certain content easier to find.

Hate Speech and Harassment

Moderators identify and address offensive language, derogatory comments, and content that incites harassment to keep the online platform safe, respectful, and inclusive for all community members.

Copyright Infringement

Moderators screen for content that shares copyrighted music, images, videos, or text without the necessary permissions, helping the online platform avoid potential legal issues involving copyright laws.

Privacy Concerns

Moderators detect and remove content that reveals sensitive personal data or without consent to maintain user privacy and comply with data protection regulations.

Brand Safety

Moderators focus on upholding a brand’s reputation and values by preventing content that could harm a brand’s reputation, alienate the business’ customer base, and breach brand guidelines from being posted in public.

Businesses assign user-generated content moderation work to human moderators who annually check every post online, software algorithms that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to filter huge volumes of content, or a hybrid human-machine team performing both bulk screenings to save resources and conduct manual checks for more nuanced decision-making.

The Power of Human + Tech in UGC Content Moderation

However, the digital landscape isn't just black and white regarding Trust and Safety. There are shades of gray where cultural nuances, context, and intent make all the difference. Human moderators take over the task of reviewing content identified by AI as potentially problematic. These moderators use their judgment to make the final decisions on whether the content aligns with platform guidelines. As a result, they effectively bridge the gap where AI falls short. 

Maintaining and improving the intricate moderation process requires constant refinement to keep up with ever-evolving trends, challenges, and user behaviors. This vigilance ensures that all content is moderated in an up-to-date and proactive manner. By doing so, online platforms can create an environment that feels safer, more comfortable, and more respectful for users to express themselves, playing a crucial role in the active and engaging digital world of user-generated content.

Where UGC Moderation Does the Job

User-generated content moderation is not just a tool for businesses to police online spaces; it also offers varied and extensive applications that improve a user’s overall digital experience. Here are five key areas where UGC moderation makes a significant difference:

Managing Brand Reputation

Content moderation is the guardian of the business’ online image by ensuring that all user posts align with its brand ethos, averting potential harm to the brand’s online standing.

Enhancing User Experience

Moderation makes online interactions more pleasant and meaningful for users, resulting in higher user satisfaction and engagement, strengthening the brand’s relationship with its digital audience.

Growing Robust Online Communities

By facilitating respectful and relevant conversations online, moderators help nurture vibrant and engaged communities that boost a brand’s credibility.

Complying with Legal Norms

The ability to keep potential legal troubles at bay remains an overlooked yet vital role of content moderation. Screening for content that might infringe copyright laws, data protection regulations, and other parameters helps businesses avoid potential litigation or sanctions.

Maintaining Quality Content

Moderation helps businesses ensure that the quality of user-generated content remains high. Filtering out irrelevant or low-value posts helps maintain a digital platform's informational and aesthetic integrity and improves the users’ overall experience.

Applications of User-Generated Content Moderation

Moderating UGC is crucial in maintaining online platforms and applications. It has a far-reaching impact and can significantly shape the user experience and the platform's reputation and success. Here are some key areas where it is implemented:

Social Media

Social media platforms are home to billions of users worldwide, and UGC is the driving force behind these online spaces. However, these platforms are also vulnerable to various disturbing elements such as fake news, hate speech, online bullying, and explicit content. UGC moderation is deployed to tackle these issues, which helps maintain a robust, safe, and welcoming environment. Moderation involves the removal of inappropriate content and upholding community guidelines to encourage constructive and non-toxic social interactions. This is essential to ensure social media platforms remain a positive space for users.

Online Marketplaces

E-commerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy thrive on user-contributed product reviews and ratings, providing valuable insights for prospective customers and influencing their buying decisions. False reviews or feedback, offensive language, or commercially sensitive information could mislead customers. Here, content moderation plays a crucial role, ensuring the authenticity of reviews, contributing to trust-building, and enhancing overall user experience.

Discussion Platforms and Online Communities

Platforms like Reddit, Quora, and StackExchange host vast UGC, including chat forums. These forums often serve as a hub for informative discussions and idea exchanges. Ensuring that all chat interactions and communications remain respectful, civil, and adhere to the platform's rules is important. Content moderation, including chat moderation, is crucial in keeping discussions focused, filtering out spam, deterring trolls, and ensuring that knowledge sharing remains productive and useful.

Online Gaming

The digital gaming world has a significant need for UGC content moderation. Multiplayer games often include chat features and community forums where players communicate with each other. These platforms must take measures to prevent in-game harassment, grooming, and the exchange of inappropriate content. Content moderation maintains a safe, friendly, and fair environment, contributing to a better gaming experience.

Educational Platforms

Regarding e-learning or ed-tech platforms, users tend to create content by sharing study materials, asking questions, participating in discussions, or commenting on various topics. Maintaining a positive and distraction-free learning environment is important, so content moderation is crucial. It helps to promote respectful, relevant, and focused discussions, which ultimately creates a supportive and efficient learning environment.

Content-Sharing Platforms

Websites that allow users to share content such as YouTube, TikTok, and SoundCloud, are bound to come across content that breaches community guidelines or infringes on copyrights. Effective video and audio moderation of UGC involves auditing all uploaded content to ensure that it aligns with community standards, respects legal requirements, and doesn't compromise user safety or enjoyment.

Best Practices to Follow

Maintaining a platform for UGC content that is both engaging and healthy is a delicate task. It requires creating a bridge between encouraging free expression and maintaining respectful interactions. Effective moderation plays an essential role in achieving this balance. In this regard, let’s discuss the best practices that can be adopted to ensure a successful and efficient content moderation process.

Establish Clear Community Guidelines

Establishing comprehensive community guidelines is the first step towards efficiently moderating user-generated content. These guidelines should clearly define the types of content deemed inappropriate, detailing topics, language, and behaviors that are off-limits. They should also encourage positive contributions and interaction and must be easily accessible to users and explained in a language everyone can understand. Transparency in rules promotes better compliance.

Combine AI and Human Review

Implementing a combination of AI and human review is beneficial. AI tools efficiently scan large amounts of content and identify explicit violations based on predefined parameters. However, human reviewers should step in for aspects that require an understanding of context, intent, or cultural nuance. These experts are trained in providing social media support and evaluating content flagged by AI, using their understanding and sensitivity to make the final decision.

Implement a Tiered Moderation Process

Implementing a tiered moderation process can help maintain a fair approach to handling rule violations. Minor infractions may only require a verbal warning, while more severe or repeated violations may call for stronger measures such as account suspension or banning. A tiered system ensures that the punishment corresponds to the violation, which can also encourage users to modify their behavior accordingly.

Regularly Update Guidelines

UGC content moderation policies must evolve constantly to keep up with the rapidly changing internet trends and challenges. Regularly reviewing the guidelines ensures the rules are relevant to the current digital environment. An adaptive moderation policy is essential to proactively handle any new or previously unseen forms of inappropriate content. By doing so, you can preemptively address emerging issues and maintain a safe online community.

Practice Transparency

Open communication with users about moderation decisions can foster trust and understanding. Providing clear explanations for actions taken on a user’s content educates them about what the platform considers inappropriate. It also provides insight into how to navigate content-sharing guidelines, leading to better user compliance in the future.

Encourage User Reporting

It is important to involve users in maintaining a healthy digital environment. Equipping them with the ability to report offensive content or rule-breaking behavior can significantly contribute to the moderation process. User reporting tools should be easily accessible and user-friendly, and users should be adequately informed about how to report violations effectively.

The impact of UGC moderation extends beyond controlling content quality; it crafts user experience, shapes community interactions, and builds a platform's reputation—a worthwhile investment for any digital platform.

Outsource User-Generated Content Moderation With Us

Companies understand how important an effective user-generated content moderation process is to succeed. That is why they trust their content supervision tasks to Us! Our end-to-end UGC moderation services use artificial intelligence and automation tools to scan user content for fast results. Our teammates also conduct quality checks to support machines to determine gray areas that require human understanding.

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    TaskUs provided a 24/7 moderation of both live and recorded content and further improved the client's tools, knowledge base, email templates, and policies. Being digitally-savvy, our Teammates developed an alert system, which helps avoid the duplication of cases and improves moderators' speed, productivity, and efficiency.

    More so, we implemented TaskUs wellness initiatives, including a mood meter tool, that is designed to reduce the emotional impact of reviewing graphic and disturbing content. As a result of protecting our first responders of the internet, we delivered the following:

    • 99.8% accuracy score
    • 95% email response score
    • 6.3 hours email response time  

    Partner with Us for your user-generated content moderation needs, and together we will build a thriving online community that truly reflects and upholds your brand values.

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    Siva Raghava
    Senior Director, Trust + Safety
    As a Senior Director, he and his team focus primarily on scaling Trust & Safety practices globally. Developed expertise while helping organizations in Product Operations, Content Moderation and Management, Project Mgmt., Global Solutioning & Vendor Management, Digital Marketing Ops, Content Policy Creation, and Content Policy Enforcement. Siva is a "truly diversified" Trust and Safety professional driving a purpose on platform safety for online communities at large for over 17 years. Worked with some of the premium brands in this space building deep domain expertise globally.