The role of the content moderator in today’s digital world is a central one. Moderators take on the challenging task of reviewing user-generated content to ensure the safety and privacy of online platforms. They act, in a sense, as first-line responders who take care that our digital experiences are safe.  Read on to find out what is a content moderator!

The content moderation process, as a whole, is a complex one because it entails the thorough screening of various types of content that goes online. The purpose is to ensure the protection of platform users, safeguard the reputation of digital brands, and guarantee compliance with applicable regulations.  

In many cases, this means that content moderators have to go through every single piece of text, visual, video, and audio that’s being posted — or to review every report for suspicious content. 

What Is a Content Moderator?

Content moderators are crucial in the process of ensuring the safety and functionality of online platforms that rely on user-generated content. They have to review massive amounts of textual, visual, and audio data to judge whether it complies with the predetermined rules and guidelines for the safety of a website. 

Moderators help platforms uphold their Trust and Safety programs — and ultimately, provide real-time protection for their user base. Their efforts are focused on removing inappropriate and harmful content before it reaches users. 

In this sense, the role of content moderators is essential because their work shields the rest of us from being exposed to a long list of disturbing and illegal content, containing:

  • Terrorism and extremism
  • Violence 
  • Crimes 
  • Sexual exploitation 
  • Drug abuse 
  • Spam
  • Scam
  • Trolling
  • Various types of other harmful and offensive content 
what does a content moderator do
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What Does a Content Moderator Do?

The job of the content moderator is a multifaceted one. While a large portion of it may consist of removing posts, it’s actually a more complex combination of tasks. 

On the practical level, content moderators use targeted tools to screen text, images, video, and audio that are inappropriate, offensive, illegal or harmful. Then they decide whether pieces of content or user profiles have to be taken down because they violate a platform’s rules or are outright spam, scam, or trolling.

In addition, content moderators may also reply to user questions and comments on social media posts, on brands’ blogs, and in forums. They can also provide protection from inappropriate content and harassment on social media pages

By doing all of this, moderators help uphold the ethical standards and maintain the legal compliance of digital businesses and online communities. Their timely and adequate actions are also essential in protecting the reputation of online platforms.    

As a whole, the job of the content moderator is to enable the development of strong and vibrant communities for digital brands where vulnerable users are protected and platforms keep their initial purpose.

What Types of User-Generated Content Does a Content Moderator Review?

The variety of user-generated content is growing by the day. This means that content moderators have to stay on top of all technological developments to be able to review them adequately. 

The main types of content that are being posted online today include text, images, video, and audio. They are the building blocks of all user-generated content. 

Yet the combinations between these formats are growing, with new ones emerging constantly. Just think of the news stories and live streams on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. 

Content moderators may also review some other content formats, such as:

  • User posts on forums 
  • Product and service reviews on ecommerce platforms and on forums
  • External links in social media posts
  • Comments on blog posts

With the development of new technology, the types of user-generated content that may need content moderation screening is bound to grow — increasing the importance of the review process for digital platforms.

Alternative Solutions to Using a Content Moderator

In recent years, the gigantic volume of content that has to be reviewed has pushed for major technological advancements in the field. They have become necessary to address the need for faster moderation of huge amounts of user-generated posts that go live — and for unseen levels of scalability.

This has led to the creation and growing popularity of automated content moderation solutions. With their help, moderation becomes quicker and more effective. AI-powered tools automate the most tedious steps of the process, while also protecting human moderators from the most horrific content. The benefits of moderation platforms are undoubtful — and complement the qualified and essential work of people in this field. 

Imagga’s content moderation platform, in particular, offers an all-around solution for handling the moderation needs of any digital platform — be it e-commerce, dating, or other. The pre-trained algorithms, which also learn on the go from every new moderation decision, save tons of work hours for human moderators. Machine learning has presented powerful capabilities to handle moderation in a faster and easier way — and with the option of self-improvement. 

As noted, content moderation often cannot be a fully automatic process — at least at this stage of technological development. There are many cases that require an actual individual to make a decision because there are so many ‘grey areas’ when it comes to content screening.

Imagga’s platform can be used by an existing moderation team to speed up their processes and make them safer and smoother. The hard work is handled by the AI algorithms, while people have to participate only in fine-tuning contentious decisions. 

In practice, this means the platform sifts through all posted content automatically. When it identifies clearly inappropriate content that falls within the predefined thresholds, it removes it straight away. If there is content, however, that is questionable, the tool forwards the item to a human moderator for a final decision. On the basis of the choices that people make in these tricky cases, the algorithm evolves and can cover even larger expanses. 

what is social media moderator
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Content Moderation Skills

While content moderation solutions have taken up a large part of the hardest work, the job of the content moderator remains irreplaceable in certain situations. It’s a role that is quite demanding and requires a wide range of skills. 

The basic task of the moderator is to figure out what content is permissible and what’s not — in accordance with the preset standards of a platform. This requires having sound judgment, so analytical skills are essential

To achieve this, moderators have to have a sharp eye for detail and a quick mind — so they can easily catch the elements within a piece of content that are inappropriate. On many occasions, it’s important to also be thick-skinned when it comes to disturbing content

The down-to-earth approach should be complemented with the ability to make the right contextual analysis. Beyond the universally offensive and horrible content, some texts and visuals may be inappropriate in one part of the world, while perfectly acceptable in another. 

In general, moderators should be good at overall community management, respecting the specificities and dynamics of particular groups. The best-case scenario is to have previous experience in such a role. This would equip one with the knowledge of communication styles and management approaches that preserve the core values of an online group. 

Multilingual support is often necessary too, having in mind the wide popularity of international platforms that host users from all over the world. That’s why moderators who know a couple of languages are in high demand. 

Last but not least, the content moderator’s job requires flexibility and adaptability. The moderation process is a dynamic one — with constantly evolving formats, goals, and parameters. While complementing human moderators’ work, new technological solutions also require proper training. 

How to Become a Content Moderator?

As the previous section reveals, being a content moderator is not simply a mechanical task. In fact, it is a demanding role that requires a multifaceted set of skills. While challenging at times, it’s an important job that can be quite rewarding. 

To become a content moderator, one needs to develop:

  • Strong analytical skills for discerning different degrees of content compliance
  • Detail-oriented approach to reviewing sensitive content
  • Contextual knowledge and ability to adapt decision-making to different situations and settings 
  • A flexible approach to the moderation process, depending on emerging formats, trends and technology 

Moderators can work either for a specific brand or for a content moderation company that provides services for different types of businesses. This is the essential difference between in-house and external content moderation. The choice between the two options is a common conundrum — both for content moderators looking for a new position and for digital companies looking for a way to handle their moderation needs. 

In-house content moderators learn the nitty-gritty details for a single company. They become experts in dealing with the specific types of content that are published on a particular platform or on a brand’s social media channels. This typically makes them highly qualified in a certain industry.  

On the other hand, many companies choose to use external services from a content moderation provider instead of having in-house teams. Then moderators get assigned to different projects, which may be more than one at the same time. This can also be interesting because it entails varied work in a number of fields — and gaining different knowledge across the board. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Content Moderator?

Content moderators review user-generated content to remove offensive, inappropriate and harmful content before it reaches people online. They follow pre-defined sets of rules that platforms set to protect their users and maintain their reputation and legal compliance.

What Does a Content Moderator Do?

The social media moderator is a type of content moderator who focuses specifically on social media channels. They screen fake and malicious user profiles and remove spam, scam, and trolling from social media posts and comments. 

Do you have any questions about what is a content moderator? Let us know in the comment section or don’t hesitate to reach out to us.