Unsung Heroes: Moderators at the forefront of internet security

One might ask, what exactly does a content moderator do? To answer this question, let’s start from the beginning.

What is content moderation?

Although the term Moderation often misunderstood, its main purpose is clear – to evaluate user-generated content for its ability to harm others. When it comes to content, moderation is the action to prevent extreme or malicious behavior such as offensive language, display of graphics or videos, and fraud or user exploitation.

There are six types of content moderation:

  1. No moderation: No content oversight or interference where attackers could harm others.
  2. Pre-moderation: Content is checked before launch according to pre-defined rules.
  3. Post-Moderation: Content is reviewed after posting and removed if deemed inappropriate.
  4. Reactive Moderation: Content is only reviewed if other users report it.
  5. Automatic Moderation: Content is proactively filtered and removed using AI-based automation.
  6. Distributed Moderation: Inappropriate content is removed based on the votes of multiple community members.

Why is content moderation important for companies?

Malicious and illegal acts committed by attackers put companies at significant risk in the following ways:

  • Loss of trust and brand reputation
  • Providing vulnerable audiences such as children with harmful content
  • Failure to protect customers from fraudulent activities
  • Loss of customers due to competitors who can offer a safer experience
  • Allowing a fake or self-proclaimed account

However, the critical importance of content moderation goes far beyond protecting the business. Managing and removing sensitive and egregious content is important for every age group.

As many third-party trust and security experts can attest, mitigating the widest range of risks requires a multifaceted approach. Content moderators should use both preventive and proactive measures to ensure maximum user safety and protect brand trust. In today’s highly politically and socially charged online environment, the “no moderation” wait and see approach is no longer an option.

“The virtue of justice consists in moderation regulated by wisdom.” — Aristotle

Why are human content moderators so critical?

Many types of content moderation involve human intervention at some point. However, reactive moderation and distributed moderation are not ideal approaches because malicious content is not removed until it is presented to users. Post-moderation offers an alternative approach in which AI-based algorithms monitor content for specific risk factors and then alert a human moderator to check if certain posts, images, or videos are indeed malicious and should be removed. Thanks to machine learning, the accuracy of these algorithms improves over time.

While it would be ideal to eliminate the need for human content moderators, given the nature of the content they encounter (including child sexual abuse material, images of violence, and other harmful online behavior), it is unlikely that this will ever be possible. Human understanding, understanding, interpretation and empathy simply cannot be replicated through artificial means. These human qualities are necessary to maintain honesty and authenticity in communication. Actually, 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and which brands they endorse. (up from 86% in 2017).

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