You already know content moderation is very important.
When we hit our targets, our clients hit their targets. And while it may seem awkward to talk about hitting targets during a period of global health uncertainty, the actual reality is that for many of us around the world being cooped up means more user-generated content (UGC). And if your platform contains, much less depends on UGC, what do you need? You need amazing moderation services. Once a platform with UGC loses degrees of speed or safety, the UGC stops flowing. People don’t post into communities they feel are slow (no one can see what they posted forever) or unsafe (bad actors, data concerns). As UGC rises, the need for world-class moderation is only becoming more important.
Now, briefly, on the role of AI in content moderation
The sheer reality of the present is that AI is a strong tool in the moderation arsenal, but it lacks a deeper nuance right now. In many ways, it’s still very nascent. Basing your scaled moderation strategy almost completely on these types of technologies won’t work right now. Adapting AI to local cultures, language dynamics, customer demographic preferences, local jurisdiction requirements, and spontaneous events within the community is a long way from perfection. On top of that, imagine a product or community channel that broadcasts video live, has comments enabled — and images can be added to the comments. AI simply isn’t ready to be the only moderator of a world such as that.
So what is the answer?
Many companies will initially perform human moderation with in-house employees. They start with a small number, using a PDACI (plan-do-act-check-improve) approach. This allows the company to improve its expertise in moderation. Internal employees gain knowledge. All good. But if the company is growing, and growing quickly, it’s not going to be sustainable. And, as we stated earlier, regardless of the corporate growth rate of an organization, external factors (say, a global pandemic) can push even moderate-growth organizations into hyper-growth rates of UGC on their platforms.
The opportunity to scale internationally, leverage best practice, and improve operating costs, though, comes from a different approach. You typically cannot achieve this solely through hiring, especially if your business — or its communities — are hyper-scaling.
At that time, many turned to outsourcing — simply because companies lack the resources, experience, and expertise to moderate at speed and scale internally. And to be blunt, when moderation is done poorly, there are massive legal and brand repercussions, so it’s often an area of the business best outsourced to experts in UGC moderation.
We actually did a whole white paper about this, if you’re interested.
Avoid the Buzzword Bingo
It’s easy to throw around the key buzzwords of any industry in a meeting — “AI solutions for scaling!” and the like.
The best realization right now is that moderation operates best when it’s a mix of human and tech. That’s the BPO/outsourcing model most likely to drive loyalty for your clients.
A few questions to ask yourself as you consider these experience and moderation questions internally:
- Can the potential BPO partner match the growth of your company and the complexity of content? For example: Do they have multiple locations globally and expertise in different regions and industries/verticals? Could they help you localize by building native and culturally-aligned teams, regardless of your existing global footprint? If your business is growing, can the pricing structure and contracts be flexible? Can the contracts account for seasonal shifts in moderation needs or general capacity requirements?
- Can the BPO partner contribute value through policy, quality, performance scorecards development or assistance? You ideally want to find a partner in UGC and community moderation who is more than simply transactional — you want advice and best practices from this business relationship too. If you’re working with an expert, you should expect both strategy and execution. Look for a company that is present in different geographies and has a proven track record with work-from-home models.
We can provide that world-class scaled UGC moderation for you — with a mix of humans and technology. So if you ever want to discuss that for your business, reach out. We’re here for you (well, we’re actually in multiple locations right now because of the pandemic, but thankfully we have expertise in that model too…)
Be safe, everyone.