The digital landscape has witnessed an unprecedented surge in user-generated content (UGC) as Social Media Apps continue to thrive. With an estimated two-thirds of the global population, a staggering 5B people, engaging with social media in some form, UGC has brought both remarkable benefits and significant challenges to the digital world. However, consuming user-generated content for entertainment also poses a potential threat to consumers, with risks of exposure to disturbing and traumatic content. Hence, addressing the need for content moderation is crucial to ensure a safe and healthy online community.
Complexities in content moderation
Content moderation involves reviewing, monitoring, removing or filtering UGC that is inappropriate, unlawful or non-compliant. With the growing reliance on new content models and digital marketing strategies, the content moderation solutions market is projected to exceed $13B by 2027 at a CAGR of 9.2%.
The task is performed by human moderators, automated tools or a combination of both, aiming to safeguard users from harmful or offensive content. However, content moderation presents several complexities to address for an effective and efficient process.
One of the significant challenges is the sheer scale of UGC being generated daily, making content moderation a daunting and labor-intensive task. Moreover, understanding the UGC’s context and cultural nuances is essential to avoid over-moderation or under-moderation, requiring a fine balance between protection and freedom of expression. The constant pressure to update policies and guidelines and enforce them further adds to the complexity while handling personal data simultaneously raises concerns about privacy and data protection. Content moderators, exposed to harmful and disturbing content as part of their job, may experience desensitization and mental health issues, demanding support and care.
The emerging threats, including deep fakes and disinformation, add to the challenges faced by content moderation efforts. However, artificial intelligence (AI) emerges as a key solution to overcoming these complexities and positively shaping the future of content moderation.
AI shaping the future of content moderation
AI algorithms, supported by natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), can efficiently recognize patterns and flag potentially problematic content, automating the process and relieving human moderators of a substantial workload. Striking a balance between automation and human intervention is essential to ensure context and cultural understanding are preserved and nuanced decisions can be taken.
Enhanced automation: The efficacy of AI content moderation involves various strategies. Increased automation through NLP, AI/ML and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enables swift recognition and flagging of potentially problematic content. This empowers human moderators to focus on reviewing and removing content flagged by the system, thereby improving overall efficiency.
Contextual analysis: It is a vital aspect of content moderation, as AI-driven tools rely on understanding the meaning and intent behind UGC to reduce false positives and improve accuracy. This empowers moderators to identify and remove harmful content effectively.
Transparency: In content moderation practices, it is critical to address concerns about online privacy and data security. AI technology can facilitate higher transparency by offering users more information about data usage, appeals management and moderation decisions, fostering trust among users.
Collaboration: Content moderators and social media platforms must coordinate with each other through information sharing. This is necessary for a collective effort to identify and remove harmful content, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of content moderation.
User empowerment: Content moderation tools allow users to exercise greater control over their online experience, creating a safer and highly personalized online environment.
The way ahead
While AI can undoubtedly make content moderation more efficient and platforms safer, it cannot eliminate risks. Enterprises must continuously strive to balance freedom of expression and the restriction of inappropriate content. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of the UGC value chain and adherence to government regulations and platform policies. Moreover, content moderation that preserves free expression while preventing the spread of harmful content requires years of experience and expertise in the domain. Hence, prominent enterprises often collaborate with specialist third-party service providers to effectively navigate these challenges and create a safer digital space for all users.