Protecting Your Brand Through Content Moderation

content moderation

Trust and safety: a belief and a condition most people would agree they hold as values. The intensity of that value may depend on one’s background and experiences. If you have experienced some form of trauma by someone you trusted, you may be more guarded or a more active proponent of safety. 

How do trust and safety play a role in business? Some think of employer trust and workplace safety. Others think of security and compliance — internal and external measures driven by business risk and legal obligation. These business practices are important, even lawful, but they do not describe the emerging practices we are referring to here.

Trust and safety (T&S) is the set of business practices that reduce the risk of harm, fraud, and other cybercrime, such as those pesky internet trolls. In today’s digital age, T&S often takes the highly necessary form of user-generated content moderation.

The Rise of UGC

User-generated content (UGC) refers to online content related to a product or service created and shared by unpaid contributors. You’ve likely consumed, or event created, this kind of content, which includes photos, videos, discussion forum posts, comments, reviews, and wikis. 

Here’s an excerpt of UGC provided by one of our clients as an example:

“I can’t say enough great things about the AdviseCX team, and I’m not an easy grader. We were looking for a highly competent team in a niche field, at a reasonable price. Tom did all of the heavy lifting, pushing, and hard question-asking and always made himself available for discussion. He made me feel like we were his only client and was always two steps ahead of me, so I never had to ask what was next. His process was streamlined and fine-tuned with great assessment tools, and yet highly personalized, leveraging his intuition and experience. If you’re looking for true partners that genuinely have your best interest at heart, then this is your team.”

UGC is influential because it comes from a third party rather than the brand itself, making it more authentic, relatable, and experience-driven. 

We have seen a significant rise in UGC with the increased availability and use of online platforms, and positive content (e.g., raving reviews) often boosts SEO and sales. 

The Need for Moderation

UGC also has its drawbacks. Here, we are going to focus on the challenge of quality control. UGC is generally not well-scripted or professionally generated. This reality can present serious safety issues for brands, including the following:

  • Reliability — Users can publish inaccurate information (e.g., a misleading review about a service experience that intentionally leaves out important details about the organization’s efforts) or use aliases and fake accounts. 
  • Appropriateness — Users can publish content with offensive or harmful language that can damage a brand’s reputation. Or, even positive UGC can appear next to other inappropriate content.
  • Legality — Users can fail to adhere to local or international laws (e.g., pirated content) and must provide permission before brands can re-use it.

All three of these risks are magnified by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and synthetic media.

Content moderation, an operations function of trust and safety, is the essential process of reviewing UGC for compliance with a digital platform’s policies. You may be aware of dominant social media companies like Google, TikTok, and Meta sorting through content, allowing or rejecting posts according to their standards. But this process is not just for the “big guys.” It is for every business that relies on its online brand for market share and growth.

Product and engineering teams are supporting content moderation processes by building tools and infrastructure for enforcement. They are working hard to leverage AI to automate moderation, but manual moderation is still needed for effective enforcement.

The Role of Moderators

It is important to note that the role of content moderators is not to make it appear as though a company only gets positive reviews. Instead, it is to address and eliminate content that violates reasonable standards of decent behavior. Allowing negative yet civil comments to exist alongside the positive actually improves a brand’s authenticity, though you want your positive reviews to far outweigh the negative.

If you need help addressing inappropriate, inaccurate, or non-compliant information, AdviseCX provides content moderation guidance. We also offer other strategies and services to identify, minimize, and eliminate additional risks to your company’s trust and safety.