If you keep your eye on content moderation as we do, you’ll be aware that the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) is on the road to being passed, after the European Commission submitted its proposals for legislation last December.

You’ll also know, of course, that the last year has been a tumultuous time for online content. Between governments trying to communicate accurately about the pandemic, a tumultuous US election cycle, and a number of protest movements moving from social media to the streets, it’s felt like a week hasn’t passed without online content – and how to moderate it – hitting the headlines.

All of which makes the DSA (though at least partly by accident) extremely well-timed. With expectations that it will overhaul the rules and responsibilities for online businesses around user-generated content, EU member states will be keen to ensure that it offers an effective response to what many are coming to see as the dangers of unmanaged online discourse, without hindering the benefits of a digitalized society that we’ve all come to rely on.

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the DSA. As it is reviewed and debated by the European Council and the European Parliament, changes might be made to everything from its definition of illegal content to the breadth of companies that are affected by each of its various new obligations. It’s absolutely clear, though, that businesses will be affected by the DSA – and not only the ‘Very Large Platforms’ like Google and Facebook which are expected to be most heavily targeted.

Many people looking at the DSA will instinctively think back to the last time the EU made significant new laws around the online business with the GDPR. The impact of that regulation is still growing, with larger fines being levied year-on-year, but it’s perhaps more important that internet users’ sense of what companies can or should do with data has been shifted by the GDPR. Likewise, the DSA will alter the terrain for all online businesses, and many industries will have to do some big thinking over the coming years as the act moves towards being agreed upon.

Content moderation, of course, is our expertise here at Besedo, and making improvements to how content is managed will be a big part of how businesses adapt to the DSA. That’s why we decided to help get this conversation started by finding out how businesses are currently thinking about it. Surveying UK-based businesses with operations in the EU across the retail, IT, and media sectors, we wanted to take the temperature of firms that will be at the forefront of the upcoming changes.

We found that, while the act is clearly on everyone’s radar, there is a lot of progress to be made if businesses are to get fully prepared. Nearly two-thirds of our respondents, for example, knew that the DSA is a wide-ranging set of rules which applies beyond social media or big tech. However, a similar proportion stated that they understand what will be defined as ‘illegal content’ under the act – despite the fact that that definition is yet to be finalized.

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Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.

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Encouragingly, we also found that 88% of respondents are confident that they will be ready for the DSA when it comes into force. For most, that will mean changing their approach to moderation: 92% told us that achieving compliance will involve upgrading their moderation systems, their processes, or both.

As the DSA is discussed, debated, and decided, we’ll continue to look at numbers like these and invite companies together to talk about how we can all make the internet a safer, fairer place for all its users. If you’d like to get involved or want insight on what’s coming down the road, our new research report, ‘Are you ready for the Digital Services Act?’, is the perfect place to start.

This is Besedo

Global, full-service leader in content moderation

We provide automated and manual moderation for online marketplaces, online dating, sharing economy, gaming, communities and social media.

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The all-in-one content moderation platform will leverage artificial intelligence and deep learning technology to reach new levels of automation and accuracy.

Stockholm-based Besedo, a leader in User-Generated Content (UGC) moderation has merged with ioSquare, a French startup company specialising in automated content moderation. The agreement is a cash-and-share deal that sees ioSquare, valued at €5 million, take a stake in Besedo, making the joint entity a global market leader.

The merger will fuel marketplaces with a best-of-breed solution that is both highly accurate and cost-effective. The combination of Besedo’s human moderation services and ioSquare’s cutting-edge automation technology, makes the merger truly unique.

The solution will also be plugging a gap customers have been crying out for as Maxence Bernard, CEO at ioSquare explains: “No solution currently addresses the full spectrum of content moderation needs today. What we see in the market is in-house platforms or stopgap solutions that only address part of the problem.”

“We are now able to offer a fully-integrated platform, where human intelligence and artificial intelligence complement each other to deliver best-in-class results. The combination of state-of-the-art deep learning technology and skilled manual workforce will allow us to reach new levels of accuracy and efficiency and will place us right at the heart of the content moderation tools and services ecosystem,” concluded Bernard.

“The market is moving quickly and we see real opportunities for rapid growth,” said Patrik Frisk, CEO at Besedo. “The baseline expectation is that the deal will see us double in size in three years in terms of revenue, from the €17 million of sales expected in 2016. However, more importantly we are expecting a hypergrowth in the amount of data we process, which could be as high as ten times the volumes we currently handle.”

Learn how to moderate without censoring

Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.

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This growth will be supported by the expected boom of the sharing economy over the coming years.

There will be opportunities to add new technology and services in the future as Frisk explains: “Initially we will be offering a solution focusing on text and images, however, we are already looking at how we might add video and virtual reality in the near future and also expand into social media and e-commerce. The opportunities over the coming years are huge. This merger will allow the new company to truly innovate and lead the market.”

Post merger, new offices are planned for Asia and the US to aid faster growth, adding to its existing offices in Sweden, Colombia, Malaysia, Malta, Romania and France. There are also plans for an initial public offering in Stockholm in two to five years as Frisk explains: “We have a plan for an IPO in probably two to five years. We want to get traction on this, and then it makes sense to look at that option. There could be other alternatives as well, but I think that’s our main call right now.”

Notes to editors:

Besedo – Stockholm-based Besedo is a leading content moderating solution provider with around 500 employees and 20 clients including the likes of Ebay Inc, classified and advertisements company OLX Inc. and Schibsted ASA-sites.

ioSquare –   Paris-based ioSquare specializes in the automation of content moderation. Its technology leverages state-of-the-art machine learning and natural language processing techniques, for unprecedented results.

This is Besedo

Global, full-service leader in content moderation

We provide automated and manual moderation for online marketplaces, online dating, sharing economy, gaming, communities and social media.

Form background