The growing regulatory spotlight on content moderation, shorter deadlines for content removal, growth of detection of potentially illegal or harmful content to be reviewed, and pressing needs to protect both the safety and freedom of expression of users, has increased the urgency to enhance existing online moderation practices. With these practices becoming widespread, it is important to ensure that this process is effective, efficient, of high quality, and that it keeps the best interests of all stakeholders at heart.
Content moderation processes
To achieve this, let us look at three key points in the process that can be optimized going forward:
I. Management of user reports
Receiving continuous alerts from users can be overwhelming for human moderators, especially over extended periods of time. At this junction, it is crucial to prioritize and manage alerts – rather than follow, for example, a “first-in-first-out” or other sub-optimal approach. A solution for this is to ensure that user reports are labeled according to the level of harm they could cause, (following a risk-based approach) and based on statistical analysis of the available metadata. This is important for user safety – especially in cases of emergency – as it allows cases that are time sensitive to be dealt with quickly and can also be beneficial for moderator safety as they are warned that they will be viewing more harmful or less harmful content. A lesser considered point when discussing management of user reports is the moderators’ experience of the process itself. An optimized moderator screen can save decision making time and increase overall process efficiency by more than 20%.
II. End-to-end moderation and complaint handling
Another pain point in content moderation is managing the process across a variety of platforms, people, and teams. As regulations demand increasing responsiveness and complaint handling from online services, it is important to ensure that you have the right mechanisms in place for end-to-end moderation and complaint handling that is helping build user trust and protect your brand. For instance, a moderation case cannot close immediately once it has been handled after a very first notice. This is because, under the Digital Services Act (DSA), a user can still contest – for at least 6 months – the handling of the case and even take the complaint to an out-of-court dispute settler. Content moderation teams will thus need to account for the possibility of the case continuing beyond the initial handling. This includes making sure that the complaints are uniquely identifiable to streamline this process and that all relevant information is easily available to ensure process quality.
III. Upstream structuring of data for transparency reporting
The third point to consider is growing transparency reporting requirements. Over recent years, calls for transparency reports from online services have come from civil society and governments alike. This has led to a variety of different frameworks from private actors in the ecosystem and resulted in transparency reporting becoming a key part of digital legislation, as seen in the DSA. Transparency is critical to ensure the safe and fair moderation of online platforms. To produce comprehensive transparency reports, it is crucial to keep a clear and consistent account of all requests for removal or restriction of content. To do this, the tools used by the moderators need to be effective at managing large volumes of notices as well as streamlining storage and labelling of data.
What does this mean for you?
Optimizing your content moderation processes will allow you to be more efficient with your costs as well as more effective in protecting your users, moderators, and brand. To achieve this, it is important to introduce new processes, incorporate automation and intelligence to improve speed and quality, and build moderator-centric tools. More importantly, it is critical to prioritize quality assurance to ensure that the right balance between safety and freedom of expression online is met.
With regards to regulation, the DSA states that following a user report the company is liable for the effect given to it. Thus, poor content moderation can raise reputation, regulatory, and other business risks which can also lead to loss of users and market share, as well as significant fines (up to 6% of global annual turnover). Thus, adopting a content moderation system that meets technical compliance requirements from the get-go, as well as prioritizes human safety and quality, is crucial.
How can Tremau help you?
The Tremau tool is a single end-to-end content moderation platform designed to help you streamline your processes, automating them whenever possible, managing and prioritizing different reported content (whatever the source of detections), as well as continuously producing audit trails for transparency reporting – enabling you to cut costs and collaborate more effectively. The end-to-end process on a single platform allows all team members to see the progression of cases and ensure better communication, faster treatment, higher consistency and quality, and fewer bottlenecks in internal handling – while ensuring the privacy of its users.
The tool is also created to ensure smooth experiences for moderators. This is done through limiting the number of clicks and screen changes as well as including API connections to external stakeholders to ensure rapid contact. Finally, the tool collects and analyzes data throughout the end-to-end moderation process to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and absolute transparency can be maintained. Such improvements enable platforms to increase reaction times towards removing or restricting content, thus ultimately protecting users and society. Moreover, it keeps the well-being and retention of moderators at their core by taking steps towards ensuring that their exposure to harmful content is limited and their tasks are streamlined.
To learn more about how Tremau can help you, contact us at email@example.com.
Tremau Policy Research Team
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