Content moderation is when the online platform screens and monitors user-generated content based on platform-specific rules and guidelines to determine whether or not the content should be published on the online platform.

Content moderation executed by humans

In other words, when a user submits content to a website, that content will undergo a screening process (what is known as the moderation process) to ensure that the content upholds the website’s regulations, and is not illegal, inappropriate, harassing, etc.

Content moderation as a practice is common across online platforms that heavily rely on user-generated content, such as social media platforms, online marketplaces, sharing economy, dating sites, communities, and forums, etc.

There are many different methods by which companies can decide how content should be moderated. These are often referred to as;

  • Pre-moderation
  • Post-moderation
  • Reactive moderation
  • Distributed moderation
  • Automated moderation

These methods require automation and a human touch to secure the best result.

Let’s look at how the methods are put into practical work by looking at human and automated content moderation. If you’re curious to learn more about the other types of content moderation, check out this article about the 5 moderation methods.

What is human content moderation?

Human moderation, or manual moderation, is when humans manually monitor and screen user-generated content submitted to an online platform. The human moderator follows platform-specific rules and guidelines to protect online users by keeping unwanted, illegal, inappropriate content, scams, and harassment away from the website.

What is automated content moderation?

Automated content moderation means that any user-generated content submitted to an online platform will automatically be accepted, refused, or sent to human moderation based on the platform’s specific rules and guidelines. Automated moderation is the ideal solution for online platforms that want to ensure quality user-generated content goes live instantly and that users are safe when interacting on their websites.

According to a study done by Microsoft, humans only stay attentive for 8 seconds on average. Therefore, online platforms cannot afford to have slow time-to-site of user-generated content, or they might risk losing their users. On the other hand, users who encounter poor-quality content, spam, scam, inappropriate content, etc., are likely to leave the site instantly.

So, where does that leave us?

For online platforms not to jeopardize quality or time-to-site, they need to consider automated content moderation.

We often refer to machine learning AI (AI moderation) and automated filters when talking about automated content moderation. But what are they really?

What is AI content moderation?

AI content moderation, or tailored AI moderation, is a machine learning model built from online platform-specific data to efficiently and accurately catch unwanted user-generated content. An AI moderation solution will automatically take highly accurate automated moderation decisions – refusing, approving, or escalating content.

One example that showcases the power of AI moderation is the Swiss online marketplace, Anibis, which successfully automated 94% of its moderation whilst achieving 99.8% accuracy.

AI moderation will be great for routine decisions if you have a high-quality dataset on which models can be built. It excels at dealing with cases that almost always look identical or similar. This usually includes the vast majority of items that are posted to online marketplaces, and as such most platforms can benefit from using AI moderation.

It should also be mentioned; that AI moderation can be built on generic data. These models can be effective but are not as accurate as a tailored AI solution as they don’t consider site-specific rules and circumstances.

What is Automated filter content moderation?

Automated filter content moderation is a set of rules to highlight and catch unwanted content automatically. The filters (or rules) efficiently find content that can’t be misinterpreted or are obvious scams.

Filters are also great for covering sudden rule changes where the AI has not gotten up to speed yet (Training takes some time and a quality data set). This was well illustrated when the Corona pandemic suddenly made masks and toilet paper problematic. This makes filters a solid complimentary automation tool for your moderation setup.

Automated filters can easily be created, edited, and deleted in our all-in-one tool, Implio – learn how to create filters here.

Do’s and don’ts of content moderation

Determining what to do and not to do in content moderation may vary from site to site. Many elements and factors need consideration to get the moderation set up best suited for your specific needs.

However, regardless if you’re running an online marketplace, social media platform, sharing economy site, etc., there are some things true about what to do and not to do when it comes to content moderation.

Do’s of content moderation

Do select the method that’s right for your needs

Start by looking at what kind of content your site hosts and who your users are. This will help you clearly understand your content moderation method and setup requirements. For example, the type of user-generated content found on Medium contra Facebook differs greatly from their users’ behavior. This makes their moderation methods and setups look different to fit their platform’s specific needs.

Do create clear rules and guidelines

Rules and guidelines must be clear for everyone directly involved with your online platform’s content moderation. Everyone from the data scientist developing your AI moderation to the human moderator reviewing content, regardless if they sit in-house or are outsourced to partners. Uncertainty in your rulebook can set your moderation efforts back from a financial and user experience perspective.

Do moderate all types of content

Whether you’re running an online marketplace, dating site, or social media platform, your users are key contributors to your platform. Making sure they enjoy pleasant experiences and are met with quality website content should interest you. To achieve this, you must ensure your content moderation is done right. In a perfect world, moderating all types of content on your site, from text and images to videos and 1-to-1 messages, would be ideal.

The reality is that this is not an approach possible for all online platforms; for financial and technical reasons. If that’s your case, as a minimum approach, make sure to identify your high-risk categories and content and start your moderation efforts there

Don’ts of content moderation

Don’t misinterpret what good content is

Quality content is key to building user trust and achieving a splendid user experience on your online platform, but it’s important to understand good content. Don’t make the mistake of misinterpreting good content and ending up rejecting user-generated content simply because it’s negative.

For example, a negative comment or review following a transaction can still be good content as long as no harsh language is used. Genuine content is what you want, as it enhances quality and user trust.

Don’t wait too long before you get started with moderation

If you’re in the early stages of establishing your online platform, getting started with content moderation might feel like it’s miles away. It’s not. Don’t get us wrong, perhaps it shouldn’t be your main priority right out of the gate, but you need to plan how to handle user-generated content from a moderation perspective when you scale.

As you’re growing and the network effect kicks in, you often see a rapid increase of content flooding into your site. You need to be prepared to handle that; if not, your big break might actually end up hurting you in the long run.

Don’t waste resources

Don’t reinvent the wheel. With multiple content moderation tools and solutions available in the market, it’s important that you prioritize your resources carefully. Besedo can help you with any content moderation need; send us a message.

Innovation and growth are what will boost your online platform to success, and this is where your dev resources will give you the most competitive advantage. Find your way to free up your resources for innovation without risking falling behind with your moderation efforts.

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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As part of our ongoing efforts to help our clients manage the challenges of user-generated content to improve the customer experience on their platforms, Besedo has recently hired Otis Burris as VP of Partnership.

The goal is to build a vast network of quality-driven companies who all strive to add value to online platforms through tech or expertise.

Interviewer: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Otis: I recently joined Besedo, back in November 2019. I have a long working history in technology solution sales & partnerships – helping to drive client efficiencies, and transition from the traditional ways of working that may be a little less tech-driven, towards more innovative solutions.

From SaaS to PaaS, I have worked with early mobile application platforms long before the “mobile-first” approach, and with digital innovations in online services and AI solutions. Now I’m at Besedo and very excited about both the mission and the approach, which is combining technology with specialized knowledge to help platforms keep their users safe.

Interviewer: Tell us a bit about yourself. How does Besedo help protect and improve users’ online experiences?

Otis: Besedo has made its name by being skilled at detecting and preventing improper or inappropriate behavior online. Many companies rightly put a lot of effort into making sure only “good” users get access to their platform. But what happens when “good” users misbehave?

Besedo provides the technology and expertise needed to monitor and control this behavior and ensure that users are not abusing the platform policies or creating a negative experience for everyone else.

Fraudsters, scammers and predators are always evolving, and it’s difficult for many companies to keep up if Content Moderation is not their core business. Our goal has always been to stay ahead of the next creative idea in scams and frauds or outright abuse, bullying and even grooming to protect all users.

Besedo focuses heavily on content moderation, and as such, we’re able to deliver very high quality and focused service to our clients.

Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards?

Otis: Besedo has predominantly worked with online marketplaces, and we have a strong history of delivering to classifieds online marketplaces.

But UGC occurs in many other places and our moderation knowledge can be transferred and applied to most digital platforms. We now moderate dating site profiles and support a lot of the up and coming sharing economy platforms. And then there are online communities where content is continuously shared in a variety of channels making content moderation a must.

Interviewer: Why is Besedo launching a partnership program?

Otis: Our clients and their user’s journey start long before the user becomes active on the platform, runs as long as they participate on the site and extends even after they leave.

From onboarding to payments, or customer support and reviews, there is a set of activities that are complementary to a successful experience. To deliver a high-level of satisfaction to all users, several components need to work seamlessly. Our goal is to connect those pieces into a single flow that enhances the overall perception of the client’s platform and that’s where we need partners.

Building a reliable eco-system of partners creates value for all participants. The end result is an offering that attracts more users, increases engagement and reduces churn.

In short, we’re trying to create a one-stop-shop where platforms can go to pick from a portfolio of services that can help them improve their user experience.

Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards? What kind of partnerships is Besedo seeking?

Otis: There are four main types of partners that we believe will help us deliver a high-quality offering to the online experience, either driven by our partners or by us.

Technology partners can be complementary when reviewing clients’ onboarding journeys.

Service partners are critical to scaling or supporting spikes during periods of heavy or unpredictable traffic – a great example is Covid-19 keeping people at home, with more time on their hands to create online content and complaints.

Our System Integration partners who are great at delivering complete IT solution projects on a significant scale are sometimes lacking the competence in certain niche areas (content moderation for example), which are outside their core deliveries. Besedo’s history and standing in the content moderation industry, makes them a credible partner for those large projects, particularly because we can deliver on a global scale in a range of languages.

Last but not least, are our Industry advocates, who are not only working continuously to educate and evangelize the different industries on the do’s and don’ts of Content Moderation but also to share the latest challenges, ideas, and innovations that can help companies stay ahead of fraudsters, scammers and other online predators.

Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards? Who should partner with us?

Otis: User Verification companies – They cover the first hurdle. They are the bouncers at the doors who ensure good users arrive on the platform. We then monitor the user’s behaviors once they arrive. Consider us the surveillance and alert team that can remove any negative or harmful elements that managed to get past the first stage.

Payment Solutions – They complete the behavioral transactions and add value to the endpoint conversion cycle and provide essential attributes that can be tagged to user behavior.

Service providers / BPOs – Often, they utilize their client’s systems which are typically not purpose-built. Partnering with us allows service providers to introduce solutions to their clients for higher efficiency and greater control of the QA process. Earn credibility by improving the client’s capabilities. As well as helping us to scale when there is a sudden spike in demand for our services.

Industry Advocates & Marketing Events help us to stay connected with our eco-system and provide opportunities to discover new trends and technologies occurring in the space.

Finally, since starting this role, I’ve had a lot of conversations I struggle to classify, but they often have exciting technology or approaches that we can leverage. Having a partner space allows those types of companies to reach out to us as well with their proposal on how we can collaborate.

Interviewer: How can partnering with Besedo help your business?

Otis: Partnering with Besedo can benefit your business in several ways.

It’s a great way to reduce the risks to your clients and deliver an improved user experience at a higher value since, with our combined capabilities, we’ll cover more ground.

If content moderation is not your core business, partnering with us will help build competence and trust in your content moderation delivery projects in a scalable way.

Once you earn credibility within the Besedo eco-system, it will open more opportunities and new revenue streams.

You will gain access to industry-leading moderation expertise in multiple languages built on 18 years of experience. We’re happy to share our knowledge so you can succeed.

Finally, Besedo are friendly towards our partners in the commercial sense. We are happy to aggressively share revenue, especially when it comes to new business or existing business where you’ve proven your ability to add value.

We’re very keen on improving ourselves, both from a tech and service standpoint. Any partner, any organization, any technology that can deliver results, we’d like to make sure you’re rewarded for that. So please reach out if you feel your goals align with ours.

Learn how to moderate without censoring

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


Interviewer: What are the industries Besedo directs their services towards? What are the options for partnering with us?

Otis: It depends on the approach of your company, but here are a couple of possible setups:

Partners can be set up as a revenue share which is based on how active the partner is in the discovery, development and delivery of the opportunity we collaborate on.

You work as a referral partner, where you identify an opportunity, but Besedo does all the meetings, and so on. That’ll be considered a referral. There’ll be a referral bonus there that can be standardized.

If you look at a reseller scenario, you will have some training on Besedo’s platform Implio, so you can demo it and handle the sales process upfront and we’ll support you in the background. That will warrant a bigger bonus since you as the partner is taking on more of the work.

Typically, partners who are more involved in the process earn a larger share of the revenue.

We also want to include consulting and marketing partners. For marketing collaboration, we’d usually not have a monetary exchange. Instead, we’ll work with blog exchange and other types of content or campaign collaboration. Cost-saving, increased reach and exposure are just some of the benefits to gain from presenting us to the market with a unified front.

Interviewer: How can partnerships bring value to companies for a safer internet?

Otis: If you go alone you can go faster; if you go together, you can go further. If Besedo tries to make the Internet safer alone, we’re not going be able to do it all. As I mentioned our user verification partners, they do a great job of KYC (know your customers). They do a lot of homework before the user gets on the platform. That’s a critical step. But their software doesn’t extend onto the platform in the way Besedos does. So, we have to do a good job as well to add to the safety stack, and the same thing goes for the payment solutions, delivery services and so on. There’s a dependency on each solution to be of high quality. And if one is missing or of questionable quality, the safety of your platform decreases significantly.

Data sharing is another area where partnerships can help improve Internet safety.

In the age of data regulation – GDPR, Patriot Acts & other local privacy requirements – it’s becoming harder to leverage or share datasets across platforms or continents. This means that we’re missing out on valuable knowledge and insights that could be used to catch bad actors faster.

Partnerships allow companies to benefit from the complementary expertise of each company, without the partners exposing their core secrets or data insights, and user data. If we can work together to create a safer internet, we will together attract more users to the eco-system, simply because they feel safe.

It’s human nature – more people fly than ever before because planes crash less. The same goes for online users. Fewer bad experiences will attract more users, which in turn increases the revenue opportunities for all members of the eco-system.

Interviewer: I want to partner with Besedo. What’s the next step?

Otis: Reach out to me directly, I’m the VP of Partnerships and I’m always interested in hearing ideas on how we can collaborate.

You can also fill in the form on our partner page. Add as much info as you can and I’ll be in touch to schedule a call.

And of course, grab us when you see us at any of the many industry events we attend. We’re always happy to have a chat about potential partnerships.

Interviewer: Any final thoughts thoughts you’d like to share?

Otis: It’s exciting times! New platforms are popping up everywhere. Content moderation is such a relevant space. It touches everyone, from parents to kids. Everyone is consuming content. Everyone is on a platform doing something, and they need to be protected. I don’t think we can be in a more relevant space at this time.

I’m really excited about Besedo having such a vast amount of experience and now taking it one step further by adding partnerships and technology to improve the solution moving forward.

I’m looking forward to having a lot of great conversations with potential partners.

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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