The True Cost Of Manual Data Entry in Healthcare

The True Cost Of Manual Data Entry in Healthcare

The True Cost Of Manual Data Entry in Healthcare

An error in processing information can be a nightmare for organizations. Several studies have estimated that the cost of fixing an error is many times the cost of prevention. In other words, extra cost incurred in preventing the error works out cheaper than making the error and then trying to fix it. Whether this is organizational karma or otherwise, the mistake keeps getting made again and again. The more critical the process, the greater the cost of the error?

It is not that organizations make errors knowingly. Obviously not. It is nobody’s case to contend that errors are wilfully made.

So, why do errors happen?

The simple answer is – because of manual processing. Human beings are the smartest beings on the planet. Human intelligence has brought us far ahead of other species to a point where we stand alone. In fact, human intelligence has brought us so far ahead that thanks to the tools we have created, self-annihilation is a real possibility.

Though man has consistently made efforts at automating manual processes, there are many beyond the scope of automation where human intelligence becomes essential. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) based applications are being developed, they too, are a mirror of human intelligence, and not an intelligence beyond.

An automated process can keep doing the same thing, exactly as the one before and the millions before, without fail. It does not think, has no need to aspire for a better life, does not wonder what would happen if it were to do something slightly differently, does not get tired and is not angling for a bonus for processing more transactions. While a human processor might.

Human intelligence, then, comes in the way of manual processes being error free. Of course, we must not forget that humans perhaps are assigned the more difficult parts of processing, the parts that cannot be automated. While elimination of errors will always be the goal, it should also be recognized that that might be a utopian ideal. Of course, we need to take the steps to get closer and closer to that ideal.

 

Cost of manual healthcare data entry

In a sensitive field like healthcare, data entry errors can be prohibitively expensive.

Treatment related

Time is often of the essence in the treatment of serious and critical conditions. Medical practitioners are trained to take on-the-spot decisions on the basis of information that is available to them at the point of treatment, like in an Operation Theatre (OT).

While many professions are aware of the GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) concept, it takes a sinister turn in the case of healthcare, as lives depend on the data that is going in. The information could be based on tests and physical examinations and would also capture past treatment. If this information is incorrect, the diagnosis is bound to be incorrect. What chance does the treatment have based on a faulty diagnosis based on incorrect data?

Others

Clearly the cost arising out of incorrect treatment is the most significant cost. There are other costs as well, that could be similar to the costs faced by many other industries. For example, date entry takes time away from patient care, the reason for the existence of healthcare systems. Errors could originate also because people not qualified for data entry jobs are having to do it. Essentially, higher costs with lower productivity from the data entry process.

 

Need for data entry

What exactly does healthcare data entry entail?

The healthcare system generates a huge amount of data. Hospitals, medical centers and medical practitioners who interact with seekers of medical care, need to maintain records regarding the condition of the seeker, treatment advised and progress. There would also be information about diagnostic and other procedures the patient has undergone. Related data could include the billing history and insurance information, at the minimum.

While it may still not be exhaustive, this list might provide an overview of the size, variety and complexity of the task:

  • Hospital records
  • Prescription history
  • Diagnostic and lab tests
  • Radiological reports, films, files
  • Surgical treatment records
  • Medication records
  • Charting of key parameters
  • Account and billing details
  • Medical insurance claim forms
  • Demographics entries
  • Patient interaction records

The data entry would need to be done in various formats like text, numeric, handwritten documents, printed files from other systems, images, etc. To make it even more complex, many of these pieces of information could be sitting inside different systems. Some of them might be able to talk to others, some not.

 

Outsourcing – the solution for Healthcare Data Entry

But an organization has to operate and deliver the [products and services it was meant to deliver. A hospital cannot stop treating patients because the billing needs to be done on a software. A doctor cannot stop consulting with patients because the medical stores cannot understand her handwritten prescription. They need to continue their mission while trying to handle the related items, some of an administrative nature, in the best manner possible.

One of the best solutions that has presented itself is the emergence of data entry outsourcing as a service. BPO companies, like oWorkers, have been doing data entry for clients for many years. They have done work for clients in different industries enabling them to gain an understanding of the industry and an appreciation of what it takes to succeed in the process. One such industry is healthcare, which can now leverage the resources of these providers and go back to focusing on the activity they were trained for, which is healthcare. 

What can healthcare providers expect from a BPO company that is providing healthcare data entry services to them?

Quality and Accuracy

This is really non-negotiable. We have already seen the costs that are associated with poor quality and accuracy. This continues to be the greatest challenge and perhaps is the one area outsourcers can expect significant improvement. The discipline of ‘process management’ uses the term ‘fatal error’ to refer to a very serious error. Techopedia defines it as “an error that causes a program to terminate without any warning or saving its state. A fatal error, upon occurring, aborts the application currently running, and may cause the user to lose any unsaved changes made in the program.”

In software and engineering the term is used to denote a serious error with a bad outcome, but in healthcare, the error could be fatal in the truest sense of the term. Lives are at stake.

With a track record of over eight years and an experienced management team, oWorkers has consistently met and exceeded client expectations in accuracy. Monitoring transactions, coaching agents who are making errors, providing feedback, are all parts of the normal processing that is done by oWorkers to deliver the highest standards of accuracy.

Turnaround Time/ Speed of Delivery

Though it eventually depends on client need and costs associated with speed, committed providers make it possible for the data to be available to the people who need it soon after it becomes available for data entry. They have great flexibility in their operations and are usually able to adapt their methods to suit those of the client. They are even able to operate from the client premises, if that becomes a key differentiator.

oWorkers runs 24×7 operations in all its three centers around the world. Every minute of the day, and night, is available and can be leveraged for furthering the objectives with which the outsourcing arrangement has been set up. The business being global, clients might even be able to take advantage of the time zone differences and find fully baked data in the database that has been processed while they were asleep.

Pricing

As it is a commercial engagement you will be entering into, of course there will be a cost implication. However, it should be viewed as a replacement cost and not an additional cost. What this means is that it will be incurred in lieu of a cost that was being incurred elsewhere in the organization for doing the same work, which will now no longer be incurred. Right? It might even make the job of the Finance people easier by being able to more accurately define a budget for it.

We are not even including the savings that might accrue as a result of better decisions resulting from accurate healthcare data entry. Or the level of healthcare services improving when staff are not involved in activities like data entry.

oWorkers clients regularly cite savings of 80% when they outsource to oWorkers. The pricing mechanism is transparent. It includes a dollars per hour rate and a dollars per unit of output rate, along with committed service standards and SLAs. Clients can choose the one they believe will be beneficial for their business.

Data Security

Cybersecurity is a growing concern in today’s world. Advancements in technology also put more powerful tools in the hands of mischief makers. While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to provide many solutions to us, it can also be harnessed by cyber criminals to mount attacks on networks and data systems, one of the main objectives being to steal client and customer information.

Being GDPR compliant, maintaining data securely is a requirement for oWorkers. Requisite checks and balances have been put in place for both digital as well as physical security. With its ISO/IEC 27001 certification, oWorkers is committed to following best practices in technology.

Technology

The BPO business is also referred to as an ITES, or Information Technology Enables Services. This is because the business, in a way, has come into existence as a result of advances in digital technology. Leveraging appropriate technologies to advance one’s business interests, therefore, is a given. Notwithstanding, each industry has its own rhythms and its own unique applications. Some common ones used in healthcare being IDX, Medisoft, Hypersoft, Medic, NextGen, Lytec and Eclipse. The partner’s familiarity with applications will facilitate a smoother transition.

With its wide setoff partnerships with technology companies, oWorkers accesses and uses the latest technologies for client requirements and is not limited to a set of pre-defined technologies. oWorkers is also well positioned to offer business continuity to clients in the event the primary delivery site is affected on account of local issues, from any of the three global delivery locations it operates from.

Multi Lingual capability

The world is shrinking and businesses are becoming global. Businesses operate across countries, time zones and languages. The support engine of a business needs to be able to cater to a variety of languages in order to cover its geographical spread. The organization should not need to look for yet another vendor for each language.

When you outsource healthcare data entry to oWorkers, you get a provider with proficiency in 22 languages commonly spoken around the world, across the three delivery centers it operates from. Whether you are a local business or a global behemoth, oWorkers has the solutions for you.

Hiring

Data entry is work that takes a toll on people, as it is very repetitive. From the organization’s perspective, this means needing to hire almost continuously to fill the gaps when people leave. Besides, since the work is repetitive and does not require too much by way of educational qualifications, the pay is low. So, the employer needs to have access to channels through which such hiring can be done.

oWorkers is a preferred employer in all the communities it works in. This gives us access to a steady stream of walk-in candidates interested in working for us, giving us choices whilst keeping our hiring costs low. Besides, we work on an employment model, not freelancing or contract like some of our competitors. While this places greater responsibility on us for development of staff and their careers, we are happy to do that as it also brings greater loyalty as well as flexibility in deployment.

Scalability

While most large organizations work on projected budgets, it is not possible to be accurate beyond a point. All businesses go through unexpected and unplanned variations in volumes, true for healthcare data entry as well. This sometimes requires either hiring in a hurry or letting the opportunity slip by if one is not able to do it fast enough.

The hiring capability of oWorkers also provides us the leverage to be able to hire for peaks and troughs. We can hire an extra one hundred people within 48 hours, if required, reducing the burden on the client to carry staffing at peak volume levels through the year.

Management Commitment

It goes without saying that the management should demonstrate their keenness and desire to take on the contract. There is no specific parameter or tool to look at for ascertaining this, but the ability to work together generally can be established during the pre-contract interactions. A business contract will only work if there is something in it for both parties.

oWorkers has a transparent process of delivery and pricing. We commit what we can do and do what we commit. Our leadership team will engage with you from the time you initiate the discussion and continue to oversee delivery.

 

oWorkers for your Healthcare Data Entry

oWorkers is a pure player, specialising in Data and Content services. It has been identified as one of the three best providers in the world in its area of specialization. Our leadership team comes with over twenty years of hands-on experience in the industry and are engaged on an ongoing basis with clients and the project teams.

In brief, oWorkers should be your partner of your choice.

The Best Social Media Moderation Tools

The Best Social Media Moderation Tools

The Best Social Media Moderation Tools

Freedom of speech is both a used as well as abused concept.

It is understood as the right of individuals and groups to express themselves without fear of retribution. It is recognized as a basic human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enshrined in the constitutions of many nations that have one.

Freedom of speech is such a fundamental concept that it could be interpreted to even mean that we have the freedom of speech to define what freedom of speech means.

Having said that, Article 19 of the UDHR states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

Perhaps to prevent, or at least guard against misuse, it is further qualified by stating that the exercise of these rights carries “special duties and responsibilities” and may “therefore be subject to certain restrictions” when necessary “for respect of the rights or reputation of others” or “for the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals.”

Regardless of the language the speech is in, even free or not, oWorkers has the skills to understand and handle it. With its policy of employing a multicultural and multi-ethnic team, it has developed the ability to provide services in 22 languages. It stands atop the BPO provider world, identified as one of the top three providers of data based services in the world.

 

Burgeoning content fuelled by social media

Social media has magnified the availability of content. Every person on social media is both a consumer as well as publisher of content. The days of publishing being the preserve of a few are passe. The teenager planning to meet her friends through a series of messages, the homemaker sharing pictures of her latest culinary achievement and the senior leaving a message for his grandson’s college graduation, are all publishing content on social media platforms. Nobody is telling them what to share and what not to share. Nobody is editing their content before it is available on the platform, widely accessible.

The easy access to publishing on a platform that has wide membership and usage is also attractive for people with their own agendas that might have scant regard for the policies of the platform, or the accepted norms of civil society. Thankfully these people are a small minority but create the need for the massive infrastructure around moderation that also fuels the need for social media moderation tools so that the processing can be done effectively.

Whether it is a hate speech inciting followers to violence against an identified group, or videos of graphic violence, or pornographic images, the process of moderation seeks to identify malicious content before it is able to do its dirty work.

Social media moderation can be defined as the process through which user generated content on social media platforms is managed in order to ensure that it adheres to the policies of the platform as well as accepted civil society norms.

The leadership team of oWorkers has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry and is able to guide the team to develop new skills. It is now a force to reckon with in content moderation, a service not even provided by BPOs over 15 years back.

 

Social media moderation tools for companies

As we know, companies have made a beeline for social media platforms, drawn by the presence of larger and larger numbers of present and prospective customers, and the prospect of a platform through which they could be reached relatively inexpensively as compared to traditional advertising. Of course, with platforms waking up to the revenue opportunity, the difference has gradually become smaller and smaller.

The need for companies to leverage social media stems from a continuous need for keeping their brands and products and services active and fresh and central to what is happening in the world. For this, they create communities and groups on social media platforms where their brand is the hero and the discussion happens around it. Once this conversation becomes organic, it requires less fueling by the company itself, and hence less resources, and does the work of promoting the brand on its own, with existing users looping in more and more new users through the platform.

Participation in these communities and the resultant content that gets created, and that companies seek to promote and generate, is known as User Generated Content (UGC). It is the elixir that all companies look for to keep their message alive and brand healthy. And why not? If I am interested in buying a product, will I trust what the interested party, the company that is selling it, has to say about the product, or will I trust the feedback of a user who has no stake in whether one more unit gets sold or not. The latter, obviously.

But creating platforms where such content can be generated, with obvious benefits, has attendant risks as well. Firstly, they are subject to the increasing volume of content, as platforms themselves are. That may not be bad in itself. But that burgeoning content also includes malicious, defamatory, unsuitable content as well, just like platforms. Hence, deploying social media moderation tools for keeping the web spaces squeaky clean has become a requirement for companies using social media for various purposes.

With its centers located in three distinct geographies, oWorkers provides the benefit of business continuity to interested clients. All its centers are equipped to operate 24×7. Clients from the US and Western Europe have lauded the fact that they save almost 80% of their pre-outsourcing cost once they outsource to oWorkers. Several unicorn marketplaces around the world trust oWorkers with their content moderation requirements.

 

Human beings as social media moderation tools

For better or for worse, the human brain remains a peerless organ. While mankind continues to seek automation as a means of saving labor, as well as ensuring adherence to guidelines and saving recurring cost of people, there are limits to what automation can do, despite the fact that the boundaries are constantly being pushed. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for example, that has been in development for many years, has now created another frontier, by getting machines to understand and act on unstructured information.

As far as the human brain is concerned, however, there is nothing that is beyond its pale. Before an activity is considered for automation, it is probably already being done by humans. Not that human performed tasks are without issues. Far from it. Humans think, and that is an issue in repetitive tasks. They make mistakes. Humans have emotions. Repetitive tasks can tire them out and lead to burnout. And they take money to maintain, as they need to be kept fed, clothed and housed at the very least.

Nevertheless, human beings have proved themselves to be indispensable, yet again, this time for the purpose of moderating UGC on social media. There are many ways this most intelligent of social media moderation tools can be deployed.

Pre-moderation

This is what is considered to be the ideal way of moderation, especially for web properties that are particularly sensitive to offensive content. The content submitted by a user is reviewed and, if found acceptable, authorized for publishing.

While it provides control over content, the process is resource hungry and can cause delays, leaving users dissatisfied. After all, if you are publishing content on social media, you want to see the result immediately. Conversation can become stilted as a result. Besides, it can be a nightmare doing this for a site that generates heavy traffic.

Post-moderation

The ‘post’ in post-moderation can be understood in two ways:

  1. The moderation is done afterwards (‘post’ means after)
  2. The moderation is of a ‘post,’ of something that has already been ‘posted.’

The result is the same. The moderators attempt to play catch-up with the posts and remove the ones found offensive to the site. They also evolve smart search and monitoring criteria based on past experience so that they do not need to go through the full set and can do sample monitoring.

This provides a better experience to users, as their posts are visible immediately, but could allow some malicious content to be visible before it can be brought down.

Reactive moderation

This mechanism assumes all content is kosher unless identified otherwise by a user. Users and visitors are presented with a facility, like a Report button, through which they could express displeasure or highlight its inappropriateness. Different sites could do it differently. Once it has been flagged, the moderation team gets into the act and reviews the content for suitability and takes action in accordance with their findings.

It is not fool-proof, but it is inexpensive. It relies on the sincerity of the participants and the amount of ownership they feel for the site and to keep it safe and clean.

Distributed moderation

This method is also based on user inputs. It requires users to vote on the content they access and its suitability for the site, which could be in a variety of ways. The eventual result is that content voted down by users keeps going down in rankings, with the lowest ones becoming virtually non-existent or invisible.

This is a cost-effective method of moderation and may be suitable for sites that are less sensitive to offensive content, if perchance it is left visible.

Whatever the method adopted, oWorkers has the right resources for it, owing to its ability to attract the best talent, being a preferred employer in each of the locations it operates from. Its employees, both past and present, routinely rate it above 4.6 on a scale of 5 on platforms like Glassdoor.

The added benefit, which gets passed on to clients through the pricing mechanism, is the ability to provide up to 100 extra resources within 48 hours, to meet short term peaks in demand. Clients working with vendors who don’t have this ability, normally end up paying to retain additional resources on the bench.

 

Automated social media moderation tools

At some stage it becomes imperative to move beyond human processing and explore automation options. The drivers could be many; high processing cost, chronological processing by humans causing delays, propensity to deviate from set rules, errors or burnout. Imagine if an automated solution could handle pre-moderation. Pre-moderation is difficult because there is intense pressure to publish immediately, otherwise the contributor will get cheesed off and the conversation will flag. The reason delays happen is that a human can process one transaction at a time. Since content could be created anywhere, anytime, there could be loads of it waiting in the queue. Imagine if instead of humans, a smart automated solution, with the ability to process millions of transactions in a short period, say a second, could do it. It could solve many issues faced with moderation and UGC today.

If only…

If only machines could be taught to understand unstructured content.

The reason humans have been almost indispensable for the process is that the content that needs to be moderated is unformatted. With great effort humans have been able to make computers understand formatted content. Software code is a type of formatted content based on which a computer takes actions. But unstructured content is something else.

The content could be an image, or an audio file, or a video or just plain unstructured text, gibberish if you please. A human brain, with its fine sensibilities, can understand the content, but a machine cannot, unless taught how to.

This is where AI comes into the picture.

With AI, machines are learning to understand, interpret and act on unstructured content, be it text or audio or image or video. Through detailed training programs, computers are being taught to read/ see/ view the content and make connections with actions. For example, an AI solution for an autonomous vehicle might involve exposing the engine to a traffic light in all possible shapes and sizes and forms and connecting that ‘view’ with an action; move if green, stop if red.

The same thing is happening in content moderation. Automated solutions are making progress and, hopefully, will soon be doing the heavy lifting instead of humans.

It is to be expected that reliable social media moderation tools should:

  • Be able to handle content in any format, including text, audio, video and images
  • Be equipped to handle content of all types, including reviews, blogs, emails, comments, etc.
  • Provide a dashboard facility where traffic can be monitored
  • Allow automation of tasks where possible
  • Have NLP capability to interpret audio files and establish perspective for textual information
  • Permits delegation of specific tasks
  • Have filters for profanity, vulgarity, pornographic content, violence, etc.

A large number of oWorkers clients are technology companies. These clients keep oWorkers honest and up-to-date regarding technology. oWorkers operates from super secure facilities that are ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified which ensures the safety of client data. It is also GDPR certified. For clients that require it, physical segregation of client workspaces is possible through the means of access control.

The Rise and Rise of Social Media Moderation Services

The Rise and Rise of Social Media Moderation Services

The Rise and Rise of Social Media Moderation Services

The development of and advancements in telecommunication technologies and the birth of the internet, in many ways freed the BPO, or Business Process Outsourcing, industry from its physical shackles.

The industry had existed ever since consumer franchises in the West had started growing on the back of a prosperous economy in the decades after the Great Depression. The need had been felt for segregating business processes that were not customer facing, and did not need to occupy expensive real estate in downtown office centers of big corporations, which had led to the creation of support centers mostly on the outskirts of the big city, so that documentation could be physically moved between the two.

With increased mobility and cheaper long-distance travel and transportation, these support centers could be moved further away from the business centers, to take advantage of cheaper real estate and more easily available workforce in the hinterland. Somewhere along the way, with increasing volumes and some companies finding it challenging to run both their business as well as support services, specialist BPO operators came into existence.

The advancements in telecommunications and the availability of the internet to the common man finally gave flight to the industry and freed it from its physical shackles. It now became possible to move white-collar jobs to pretty much any part of the world where the required skills were available, and get it done without losing anything by way of turnaround time. In fact, because of time zone differences, in some cases turnaround times actually improved as the processing center would be opening by the time the business center was ready to shut, do the processing during its business day and send the work back by the time the business center opened for work the following day. It was almost as if some elves had descended and completed your work while you were asleep.

oWorkers has been at the forefront of business process outsourcing (BPO) services that have been unleashed by the revolution in telecommunications technology. It has identified data-based services as its area of operation in which it excels and covers a host of services including, among others, moderation services. It has been identified as one of the top three data based BPO services providers in the world.

 

The rise of social media moderation services

Of course, nobody can see the future. And change is a law of nature. We know that, don’t we?

Do we know what will be the services that will comprise the bulk of outsourced processing work say 25 years from now?

Obviously, we can’t. Of course, some wise folks will make predictions betting on nobody remembering them when that future time arrives, or there being more pressing issues of that time to be handled instead of worrying about random predictions.

At the time BPO services started to be sourced from all corners of the globe, with geographies like India and the Philippines perhaps leading the way, the focus was on outsourcing bulk processing activities that would deliver substantial benefit to the bottom line, if outsourced, like Call Centers, or medical transcription, or data entry.

At this time, social media was perhaps not even a gleam in the eye of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, which is the largest social media platform today. It follows, therefore, that neither would social media moderation have been a gleam in the eye of a regulator, nor social media moderation services in the eye of a BPO provider.

It is now a matter of historic detail that social media has taken the world by storm, in just about two decades, rising on the back of computing devices being in the hands of more and more people all the time, connected to the world wide web.

Launched as an attempt to connect students in the university he was attending and from the dorms of which he did the coding, Facebook soon went beyond and attracted people who found it to be a useful way to connect with friends and family members and indulge in an exchange of ideas and thoughts and communication. Many other social media platforms soon followed suit and launched their own versions with their own unique offerings. Based on monthly active usage, the most popular social media platforms today are:

  • Facebook – 2.7 billion
  • YouTube – 2 billion
  • WhatsApp – 2 billion
  • Instagram – 1.16 billion
  • TikTok – 689 million
  • SnapChat – 433 million
  • Reddit – 430 million
  • Pinterest – 416 million
  • Twitter – 353 million
  • LinkedIn – 310 million

The above is based on information published by the Search Engine Journal.

Initially meant for interaction between human beings, the success of these platforms has also made them objects of interest for companies. Forever in search of the next customer and the next revenue dollar, companies will go where humans, and potential customers, are. Companies are creating communities around their brand and products and trying to promote healthy engagements which fulfil many objectives together. The adoption of social media by organizations has provided a further impetus to the usage of social media platforms, as well as social media moderation services. Now it is not only the platforms that need these services, each organization and business that manages a group or community on a platform needs to do it too.

Whatever the reason for moderation, with its well-trained team of people, oWorkers is well equipped. It operates with the huge advantage of having access to an almost endless supply of resources, one of the major considerations in the industry. This is because it is a preferred employer in all its delivery locations, thanks to its deep engagement with local communities.

The steady supply also enables oWorkers to provide just-in-time resources to clients in case of unexpected spikes in volumes. This has turned out to be a boon for clients who would, otherwise, have to hire resources to meet peak volumes, and keep them idle the rest of the time; an unnecessary cost.

 

The need for moderation

We perhaps know most of the reasons that create a need for moderation of the content on the big social media platforms that can be accessed by billions of users around the world.

Despite free speech being a laudable objective, each platform has rules that it defines for engagement. Many of these are rules of social conduct that cannot be controlled by setting up automated thresholds or conditions. While technology tools can be used to some degree, in many cases a final call can only be taken through a human review.

Going beyond platform specific rules, there are many unspoken, unwritten codes that have evolved over millennia and now operate in civil society. They also need to be abided by. As do specific laws that are enacted by governments around the world.

This is why posting an audio of a speech exhorting violence against followers of another faith is not acceptable. This is why images of child nudity, or adult nudity for that matter, are not acceptable. This is why a video of graphic violence is not acceptable.

And this is why we need social media moderation services. So that vitriol is not spread through the medium of social media. So that lunatics feeling secure sitting in a dark corner of the web do not make life miserable for others.

The partnerships with technology companies that oWorkers has forged, give them access to the most modern technologies at all times. This eventually benefits clients as the technology is used for processing their transactions. In any case, 85% of oWorkers clients are tech companies who ensure that only the best technology is used.

Apart from being GDPR compliant, oWorkers is also ISO certified, and creates physical segregation between projects, where required, with the aid of access control.

 

Social media moderation services for a company

But what about the social media presence of a business. Why does that require moderation?

As we know, companies are creating spaces on social media platforms where they promote conversations about themselves and their business. The intent is to create an environment that portrays their company and its products in a favorable light so that buying opportunities amongst customers can be maximized.

This is a space where the company has the most investment and interest in. Hence, it follows, that the success or failure of these communities is a reflection on the company that promoted it as well as a negative outlook on future sales.

Who would have an interest in moderating this space? The company would.

How would it help?

First and foremost, by eliminating offensive content, it would maintain the space which can be safely participated in by interested users, without fear of being spammed or abused or threatened.

Rules being the starting point for most such engagements, they would want to enforce them in the interest of their brand. This community is centered around their brand and people may need reminding of that. A discussion around the recently concluded Olympics may not be an appropriate subject for discussion, except if it is in the context of the brand whose space it is being discussed on.

Being open, worldwide platforms, activity can happen at any point of time during the day or night. One offensive tweet and several weeks of effort could be nullified. Such possibilities make social media moderation services relevant for companies that require proactive crisis management.

Social media now serves as an important customer service touchpoint as well. Since many people now have an internet-ready device close at hand at most times during the hours they are awake, it is easy to express on social media, on some of which they are always connected. In case of an issue with a product, instead of trying to locate contact numbers or email IDs, it is much simpler to post the grievance on a social media platform. This makes it mandatory for the company to access and respond as an unchecked grievance could snowball into a public relations catastrophe. By default, social media platforms have also become customer servicing channels.

The process of moderation provides companies insights into customer behavior. These insights are valuable as they are based on natural behavior of customers in settings they feel safe in, as opposed to the more ‘managed’ traditional mechanisms such as customer surveys.

Building communities on social media for your company and brands offer great ROIs but need to be managed.

Operating out of three distinct geographies of the world, oWorkers practises the philosophy of multi-ethnic and multicultural teams. This diversity is the bedrock of their multilingual capability with which they become partners in growth for clients as they expand to geographies where the language changes. At present, oWorkers can support work in 22 of the most commonly used languages of the world.

 

Outsource social media moderation services to oWorkers

Human resources is one of the keys that unlocks the possibilities in an outsourcing engagement. oWorkers has chosen to rely on the model of hired resources over that of freelancers and contractors that some of its competitors seem to prefer. Having insourced workers provides flexibility to oWorkers in deployment while enabling employees to demonstrate their capability and grow in the company. These workers are well cared for, as demonstrated by the high ratings that employees, both past and present, leave on platforms like Glassdoor.

Their clients value the transparency they get in pricing, with a choice between input based pricing or output based pricing. They also frequently note cost savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to oWorkers.

oWorkers is ably led by a team of professionals who have hands-on experience in the industry of over 20 years. With clients from all over the world, they are able to provide a quick turnaround, either leveraging the difference in time zones, or operating their centers 24×7, that all centers are equipped for.

The major question in outsourcing has moved from “should we?” to “how should we?” Clients of oWorkers clearly recognize that outsourcing adds value to their capability set by taking away the responsibility for non-core activities at reasonable rates.

How to Create Social Media Moderation Guidelines

How to Create Social Media Moderation Guidelines

How to Create Social Media Moderation Guidelines

“Because it’s there” were British climber George Mallory’s words when asked why he wished to climb Mount Everest. The same year, in August, Mallory, who has mythical status in the world of climbing, and climbing partner Andrew Irvine, disappeared from the mountain. Some say on the way to the peak, others say on the way back, potentially making them the first to have set foot on the highest peak in the world. Of course, the first recorded and documented ascent was by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in the fifties and they are recognized as the first.

“Because it’s there” might also be the response of the billions of users of social media when asked why they are on social media or why they use it. And posts like “Had breakfast, feeling Good” or photoshopped pictures of a vacation in an aspirational, expensive destination, might have fuelled some of the speculation regarding the relevance of social media. Whether serving a useful purpose or not, social media has taken over the world like a force of nature and now is a fact of our lives, and no longer a choice.

oWorkers has been there, too. In over seven years of providing data based BPO services to global clients, it has earned several accolades, including being counted as one of the three best BPO services providers in the world, in its category. Its leadership team, which has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry, continuously looks for newer peaks to climb in their effort to lead the team to greater heights.

 

Requirement for social media moderation guidelines

Climbing Everest was one of the ultimate feats of human endeavor. Like rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean. Or sledding across Antarctica to reach the geographic South Pole. Or swimming the length of the Amazon river. But that was then, when Everest was a fabled presence, deep in the wilderness, across unpopulated wilderness of rural Nepal on one side and Tibet on the other, the tallest peak as the Himalayas majestically rose from the plains across Northern India and Nepal and then plateaued out into Tibet.

Today it is a commercial venture. If you have the money and the desire, ante up and you will be on the next hypersonic pathway to the top in a few years, since bookings apparently run that long. But that is what it is. The unfortunate outcome of the traffic has been the desecration of the mountain, with towns and communication towers being set up and discarded equipment like used oxygen cylinders defiling the mountain face. The result is that rules have needed to be set up so that climbers are aware of the dos and don’ts. Not just that, periodic cleaning attempts have to be undertaken so that such equipment neither becomes a danger for other climbers nor creates an ecological disaster in the future.

The birth of social media is generally traced back to the creation of Facebook, which was apparently coded by its founder Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm in Harvard. It had a purpose when it was created, of enabling students to connect with each other in a non-intrusive way. And that remains. It continues to be a non-intrusive way of connecting with other people, no longer limited to student communities. Its use has spread like wildfire across the world, on the wings of the rapidly spreading reach of the internet, and encouraged the birth of many other social media platforms in its wake.

No longer limited to a reasonably homogeneous community, as happened in the case of Everest, increased usage appears to have introduced malpractices in social media usage that the world has been forced to sit up and take notice of. Large numbers sometimes give the feeling of safety, of being hidden in a large crowd, which can encourage people to be obnoxious. That is perhaps what has happened with social media. Sitting in their own dark corner of the world, communicating only with machines, and not real people who can talk back, some people feel powerful and perpetrate content on an unsuspecting population that is designed to push their agenda and spread discomfort and strife in the rest. Whether it is spreading messages of hate against a community, glorifying violence and posting gory images, sharing pornographic videos, anything is possible. Civil society does not look kindly upon such content for open access.

The result has been the birth of what we know as social media moderation, that seeks to head off offensive content before it can reach the masses, accompanied by social media moderation guidelines.

oWorkers has been involved in social media moderation from the get go. Its relationships with technology companies has enabled it to access cutting-edge technology for its work. This works in favor of clients as it is for client work that these technologies are used. As a GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified company, it creates confidence in clients about the security of their data.

 

What do social media moderation guidelines look like?

Expectation setting is one of the basic principles in society. When a person signs up on a social media platform (an account creation is always required), since the platform has been put up, and presumably is inviting participation by making it open and accessible, at the first step it is the responsibility of the platform to provide a clear understanding of its rules and regulations so that the user can know what she is signing up for. If unhappy with what she sees, she is free to walk away. The platform is not in any way forcing her to participate. But once she signs up, the expectation is that she understands the regulations and agrees to abide by them.

It might be instructive to look at the guidelines of Facebook, the largest social media platform, with over 2 billion users, almost 30% of humanity.

Facebook divides its guidelines into sections, presumably for ease of access and in order that bite-sized chunks can be accessed at one time. While there are many policies and guidelines they publish, we will focus on a few that, based on their title and classification, appear to relate to offensive content. They list them down under the following sections:

  • Violence and Incitement
  • Dangerous Individuals and Organizations
  • Coordinating Harm and Publicizing Crime
  • Regulated Goods
  • Deception
  • Suicide and Self-Injury
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Abuse and Nudity
  • Sexual Exploitation of Adults
  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Exploitation
  • Privacy Violations
  • Hate Speech
  • Graphic Content
  • Nudity and Sexual Activity
  • Sexual Solicitation

To understand it a little better, here is a section explaining why they have put the Violence and Incitement policy in place:

“We aim to prevent potential offline harm that may be related to content on Facebook. While we understand that people commonly express disdain or disagreement by threatening or calling for violence in non-serious ways, we remove language that incites or facilitates serious violence. We remove content, disable accounts and work with law enforcement when we believe that there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety. We also try to consider the language and context in order to distinguish casual statements from content that constitutes a credible threat to public or personal safety. In determining whether a threat is credible, we may also consider additional information such as a person’s public visibility and the risks to their physical safety.”

For those who may be interested, these guidelines are available on the websites of the respective social media platforms.

It must be clarified, however, that the practice and process of reviewing and removing, if required, content, is an internal process of the company.

Regardless of platform, oWorkers has the trained manpower to moderate social media content for you, aided by the endless supply of the best talent available in the marketplace owing to their standing as a preferred employer. Fresh resources are then adopted by the dedicated training teams in each of its locations, to polish the rough diamonds into shape for client engagements.

 

Social media adoption by companies

Adoption of social media by companies is a precursor for the creation of social media moderation guidelines.

The world moved its original target market of college students very early in its life. It has, since, also moved beyond social media platforms being used for casual person-to-person exchanges only.

Constantly on the lookout for their next revenue dollar, companies perforce have had to get on to the social media bandwagon. If social media is where people are headed to, that is where they must head to, as well. If a company could be depicted in a comic book, looking at masses of people, potentially within their target segment, it would probably be shown with $$ signs in its eyes.

Since the usage of social media platforms has experienced a steep adoption curve, companies have had to evolve strategies for it as well. Through social media, they hoped to reach their message across to a much larger set of people at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. This was true in the early days of adoption but pricing may be more competitive now. They hoped to create a community around their brand where the discussion would be about their company and brands, positive hopefully. They hoped to reach out to new customers as happy customers will find it easy to share the message across on the same platform to many more people. They hoped to also leverage social media as a channel for customer service. Most people now have an internet-connected device with them all the time. If they have a need for service on any product, rather than look for how to reach the parent company, they might just find it easier to locate them on their social media sites.

The usage of social media by companies has rapidly expanded, in tandem with the growth in its adoption by individuals. Now there are millions of spaces on social media platforms that have been created for their own use.

Dollars being important to companies, the pricing offered by oWorkers becomes a differentiator. It offers a choice between output-based and input-based pricing to prospective clients. Most clients, especially those from the US and Western Europe, have noted savings of up to 80% after their work has been outsourced to oWorkers.

 

Setting up social media moderation guidelines

If they are trying to benefit from the reach of social media, they will have need to live with the ills of the platforms as well, with the main one being that of misuse of their space for propagating thoughts and ideas that may be either out of line with the rules of the site or abhorrent from the social and civic perspective.

So, what should they do?

They need to do what the platform owners do; moderate the content on their social media properties.

How do they do it?

While implementation may vary from company to company, the first step is usually the articulation of guidelines that need to be adhered to by users. Theirs may not be the road to hell, but they have to pave it with good intentions. What they might need to bear in mind while setting up social media moderation guidelines for their space:

Define the purpose of creating the community

This could be a high-level way of setting out expectations in easy language before you get into more detailed explanations later.

Specify what is acceptable and what is not

This ensures that participants have clarity and don’t end up having an excuse of lack of clarity. You could also specify legal and regulatory reasons, if any, for keeping some types of content on the ‘not acceptable’ side of the list.

Articulate consequences

A rule without any consequence of violation is just a homily. It has no place in business. Consequences for violators should be defined, and carried out. If there is an appeal mechanism where identified violators could seek a review, that should also be defined.

Timeline expectations

If the social media channel is being used for customer service, it would make sense to define turnaround times for response and action. Some companies may also need to set up processes and timelines for handling emergencies.

Define responsibility for moderation

All the good work in setting up a framework can come to nought if the responsibility for doing it is not defined. This might also be an opportunity to evaluate outsourcing versus doing it inhouse.

Be polite

When you dip in and participate in the community, being polite and professional, regardless of provocation, is mandatory.

Regardless of the guidelines of a company, oWorkers has the skills to deliver the goods. Their workers being employees, not freelancers or contractors as preferred by some competitors, gives them the flexibility of redeployment. They have also been able to build supervisory experience through managing the career and growth of staff members. They routinely get scores of 4.65 and above, on a scale of 5, from past and present employees, on platforms like Glassdoor.

 

In Conclusion

With their adopted policy of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic teams, oWorkers is able to offer services in 22 languages, regardless of the social media moderation guidelines of a client. This becomes a growth enabler for clients when they seek to expand to new geographies.

It has delivery locations in 3 distinct geographies of the world, widely recognized as among the most suitable for the business. This creates the possibility of one center serving as the business continuity backup for another, should client needs require this arrangement. In any case, all centers are equipped to operate on a 24×7 basis.

Their access to a continuous supply of manpower makes ramping up and down for clients easy, a huge saving of cost for clients.

They have been able to create a pathway for entry into the digital workforce for many from less privileged backgrounds. Your work will enable them to do the same for a few more.

The need for website content moderation and how to do it

The need for website content moderation and how to do it

The need for website content moderation and how to do it

Social media is one of the realities of the modern world. Like flying and call centers and crowded cities. It is there. It is growing. It is used by millions, sorry billions of people around the world. And it is open. It thrives on what is known as user generated content (UGC), content that you and I, and billions of others, create or copy-paste and share on our accounts and with our networks. Content that can easily be further shared by the many people who get access to it from us. In fact, social media is seen as the ticket to instant stardom by many people who keep trying to create content that they hope will catch the fancy of people and will ‘go viral.’

Social media platforms are websites, or web properties.

Many other websites, that are not necessarily designed as platforms to encourage interaction between people, also invite participation from visitors and users and customers.

Many organizations leverage the power of social media platforms and make an effort to carve out spaces for themselves within the overall umbrella of the platform, where they can promote interaction on themes that may be of interest to their organization and brand.

 

The need for website content moderation

What this results in is creation of content in gargantuan, impossibly large, quantities. Imagine 4.6 billion people (the number of internet users in January 2021, according to Statista) around the world, almost 60% of the world’s population, busy creating content.

Someone is uploading pictures of her last vacation in Scotland, someone is being wished on his birthday by friends and acquaintances, someone is uploading pictures of a new line of dresses their business has introduced, someone is digitizing and uploading court judgments of the last many years, someone is sending out messages asking for references for a carpenter, and so on.

These are just four out of the 4.6 billion. The examples we have taken are probably innocuous transactions that keep happening all the time. We participate to the extent they connect to us, else mostly ignore them.

As we know, it takes all sorts to make the world. Over thousands of years of living together, we have developed a sort of structure for civil society and boundaries for acceptable as well as unacceptable behavior. Legal frameworks in many jurisdictions are also guided by these unwritten rules of civil society.

These norms of acceptable behavior, primarily developed through and for interaction, are also applicable to our conduct on the internet. Though it is not possible to cause physical harm through the internet, some of the content that exists can leave a deep, lasting and disturbing impression on the psyche of the consumer.   

The reach for my few seconds of fame by creating or sharing content that will go viral, making me famous

The anonymity offered by the internet, where a user is sitting in a dark corner of the world, away from prying eyes (at least physical) and people, can affect different people in different ways. For some, it may provide comfort and solace, while for others it could be an encouragement for the mischief that they are not able to do in real life, believing they are secure, or for getting the (in)famy they believe they deserve.

Whether it is content about violence, or about child pornography, or about rape and murder, or about religious hatred, everything is possible. Once on a platform, it develops a life of its own and multiplies quickly, pushed by voyeurs as well as by people seeking to get their own one minute of fame by sharing ‘rare’ content.

Thankfully, the proportion of such content is very small, but it exists and needs to be discovered and eliminated. Leaving it loose on the internet is dangerous as it exposes not only adults, but even youngsters to objectionable material.

While the above may be examples of extreme content, there are many more commonplace examples of what might be called simple violations of website and community guidelines and practices. For example, a member of a Facebook group created for sharing the hand embroidery work they are doing, might put up some promotional post advertising the prices of her products. The owner may need to moderate that. An anti-religion message may be posted on a WhatsApp group created for sharing job opportunities and may need to be deleted by the administrator.  

The need to manage such content gives rise to the need for website content moderation.

As a data serviced focused BPO company, oWorkers has been providing this service to its clients from around the world for over 8 years. With increase in social media usage, the need for moderation, as well as our support for clients, has grown. Our recognition as one of the top three data services providers amongst leading BPO outfits is the result of client support as much as it is a recognition of our staff.

 

What needs to be moderated?

Everything.

That is the simple answer.

Once it has been established that objectionable content can be posted, it also needs to be understood that the objectionable content can lurk in corners or crevices of the world wide web. Hence, if user generated content (UGC) can be posted on the site, it needs to be moderated.

People and organizations are also creating sub-properties on the social media platforms to take advantage of the free, flowing interaction for the benefit of their brand. They create groups and communities with the objective of bringing together favorably disposed users, keep them interested, as well as reach out to fresher audiences and markets through them.

Content is being generated all the time in the four common formats: text, images, audio and video. The richer the content, the greater the opportunity for impact. Video, which contains visuals and audio, is the most impactful.

Text

There is a huge variety to contend with. From articles and posts, to comments and reviews and descriptions. Language is the basic communication tool for humans and text is how it is represented. With each usage, the context also needs to be understood. In addition to keyworks, phrases and sentences also need to be evaluated.

Audio

The intelligence that computers have is based on what we might call ‘text.’ They have been taught to understand characters and sequences of characters in specific formats, that has come to be known as software code, based on which they are able to carry out their actions.

At this point, audio cannot be interpreted by machines. It needs to be converted to text through natural language processing (NLP) engines for machines to make sense of the. Hence, website content moderation becomes more complex for machines to handle. Of course, human beings can understand and interpret audio and moderate it.

Images

An image is just an image for a computer. A set of pixels of different colors placed randomly in a frame. It does not mean much. Artificial Intelligence (AI) engines have been developed and trained to understand images with the help of millions of training data fed to them. Unlike audio, images cannot even be converted to text through an NLP process making them at least partially intelligible to machines to facilitate automated moderation.

Once again, with their intelligence, humans are able to look at an image, place it in context, and take a decision on its relevance and suitability.

Video

Video is the richest form of content posted by users. It contains image sequences as well as audio, both unintelligible to machines in their original form. Videos could also have subtitles, making them even more complex. Machines have to be trained through AI using Machine Learning (ML) to enable them to get a handle on video content.

As with other forms of content, users can understand and analyze video content and determine its suitability for a particular platform. Even for humans, it is a difficult job to analyse video content as they may need to track the visual sequence in addition to the audio and subtitles, if present.

oWorkers’ ability to attract walk-in talent, which emanates from our positioning in our communities as a preferred employer, gives us, and our clients, access to the choicest talent. This talent is then polished with the help of our dedicated training team to deliver a resource ready to ‘hit the ground running’ whether for a website content moderation project or any other. An additional advantage this consistent flow walk-in candidates provides is that of comfortably handling short-term volume ramps. You can never guess when a particular topic or website goes viral can you? We can hire almost a hundred additional resources in 48 hours.

 

How should website content moderation be done?

Being part of civil society, we ought to be generally aware of the rules and regulations that one needs to abide by. However, each of us, and each website and community, operates within a specific context. While participants of such communities and websites ought to be aware, it is never a bad idea to set the context for the sake of clarity. Posting the image of a woman’s face in Germany may not even be noticed but could be considered offensive in a society in the Middle East.

Hence, laying down the rules and regulations for participation on a website or community can be considered to be the first step for moderation. People who participate in the community do so in the knowledge that such guidelines exist and need to be abided by. These could relate to language, acceptable subjects, external links, advertising, anything.

There should be consequences. If there are no consequences, setting up rules often becomes a meaningless exercise. While owners are not judicial authorities pronouncing judgment and sentences on offenders, they are free to take action within the context of website content moderation. These typically lead to censure, content editing, content removal, limiting access and, when all else fails, blocking user access completely from the community. These may be taken in sequence or may be based on the severity of the infraction.

It is also a good idea to set expectations upfront. If you have decided that you will follow a policy of moderation such that UGC will only be visible after it has been reviewed, let the users know. It will prevent needless angst while they wait for their content to show up. It is also a good reminder for users that not everything is acceptable.

In addition to trained human resources, oWorkers is able to access the latest technology tools suitable for this activity, thanks to its enduring partnership with leading providers of technology. As they are used for client projects, they also stand to benefit from these technologies and tools. Add to this our super secure facilities, GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certification, and you have a complete solution. In view of the pandemic, we are also optimized to work completely from home or office, as dictated by the evolving situation.

 

The challenge

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is what makes the internet a vibrant marketplace for interactions and exchange of ideas and information. It provides intermediary liability protection to websites both for content posted by their users that could be vile, as well as for removing content that could be vile in order to make their website safer for a larger set of people. In a way, it promotes freedom of speech and creates an opportunity for vile content to be created, at the same time allowing for content to be reviewed and judged, whether it is terrorism related or deep fakes or child pornography or graphic violence of drug trafficking.

With billions using the internet and astronomical amounts of content being created every second, human moderation, still considered to be the safest method, will never be enough, considering the timeliness of moderation as well. Thousands of moderators are reviewing content this minute trying to decide on the suitability of each piece they come across.

The human moderators, that we believe are still the best option for moderation, are living in their own private hell while reviewing content. Firstly, they have a fine balancing act to perform, between the commercial interest of their employer, it is after all a for-profit business, the demands of free speech and ensuring safety and security of the masses of people who will be exposed to the content.  In doing so, they are exposing themselves to text after text, audio followed by audio, image upon image and video after video of horrific rapes and murders and child abuse and hate mongering. All of it is leaving an impression on their minds, little by little. One can never say what unintended consequences such exposure may lead to.

Eventually, it is a question of taking collective responsibility, though that may not solve the immediate issue of posting of vile content. But it does help us realize that what is happening on the internet is perhaps a reflection of what we really are. We cannot run away from it. There may not be any easy solutions but it is our problem and we have to handle it.

oWorkers understand the challenges and is equipped to handle them. Operating with employed staff, as opposed to contractors and freelancers employed by many competitors, we regularly monitor each individual’s performance as part of a larger career management framework. For staff needing training, or being affected by the nature of work, steps like training programs and job rotation are in place.

With three centers in three of the most sought after delivery locations in the world, oWorkers employs a multicultural team which enables it to offer website content moderation services in 22 languages.

The importance of website content categorization

The importance of website content categorization

The importance of website content categorization

There are websites that enable you to search for content on the internet. There are websites that businesses have, that generally work as their sales front-end or lead generators. And businesses can be of many different kinds. There are websites that are social media platforms that encourage interaction between people and sharing of content. There are websites that could be created to disseminate information about a specific event, say the Wimbledon tennis tournament in 2021 or a concert of Justin Bieber in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There could be people interested in publishing and sharing their thoughts through weblogs, or blogs and video blogs, or vlogs. There could be websites dedicated to portfolios of creative artists like painters, writers and musicians that seek to promote their work. Then there are websites that provide news and updates on happenings around the world.

In short, a website can be of any type.

Whatever the type of website, oWorkers understands it and knows about it. In its journey of eight years, it has supported a wide set of global clients to handle support functions like categorization and focus on their primary business. Its success can be measured by the growth in relationships over this period. oWorkers is recognized as one of the three best providers of back-office BPO services in the world. And it is not an isolated recognition.

But, what does this have anything to do with categorization?

 

What website content categorization is, and isn’t

In simple terms, it means the categorization of websites based on their content. BBC might be categorized as a news website while Twitter might be placed under social media.

So, who decided that news and social media will be a part of the list of categories?

Nobody. Or, anybody.

Website categorization is a natural activity that exists independently in the world on its own, ready to affix a stamp on every new website that is being created and modified, based on a pre-existing, natural algorithm that is not known to humans. Right?

Nothing like that. A category field does not even exist on the registration form for a new website where you either fill or select the category from a dropdown list.

So, how are categories decided and on what basis are websites categorized?

Website content categorization is an activity created by human beings for a commercial purpose. That of helping people make sense of the millions of websites in existence for various purposes that will be touched upon later in this article.

Hence, it could be done by many people and organizations, each for meeting their own unique objectives and for satisfying the perceived needs of their identified set of target clients. Hence, it perhaps follows that there is no requirement for any two to be similar to each other. Moreover, to answer a question asked earlier in this text, news and social media may not even be a part of the list of categories maintained by a provider. Of course, the web is a living, moving, evolving being. Categories may need to keep evolving too, to keep pace with it.

However, while it remains true that a website categorization service may create its own list of categories, there is a list which is perhaps viewed as some sort of a standard list. This is the list developed by the IAB (alternatively the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Internet Advertising Bureau). As is perhaps evident, it has been created with the primary purpose of enabling advertisers to choose how and where their ads should be visible. It offers approximately 400 categories for users to choose from over multiple levels of categorization.

It must also be remembered that:

  • Website content categorization has nothing to do with website rankings based on visitors or any other parameter
  • Categorization defined by a website for itself or for the content inside them, is not relevant for a categorization service

The talented staff at oWorkers understand what categorization is and also what it isn’t. Being active participants in the communities it hires from, oWorkers is blessed with a year-round traffic of interested jobseekers, giving them a choice for various roles. It also keeps their hiring costs low, as they do not need to advertise for candidates, which eventually gets passed back to clients as better pricing. Many clients, particularly from Western Europe and the US, mention savings of almost 80% after outsourcing work to oWorkers, and getting the benefit of their transparent pricing models.

The walk-in talent pool gives them, and consequently their clients, other benefits too, like flexibility of handling ramps. Most businesses go through ups and downs in volumes, driven by seasonality or based on specific events. The deep talent pool oWorkers has access to, enables them to meet these short-term requirements without breaking a sweat. They can hire almost a hundred additional people within 48 hours. This is a substantial saving for clients who may otherwise have to hire resources for the full year.

 

The need for website content categorization

An activity will be carried out only if it delivers some use for someone. That someone will either undertake the activity or pay someone else who is doing the activity that is useful for him, or his company.

Categorization of website content is no different. It is done because there are certain uses and applications of the categorization, which could also be called benefits.

So, what are the benefits of website content categorization?

Reliable identification

A website or web page can be created by anyone. Each creator has a view about the web property they are creating and it is done with a certain objective in mind. As a result, they might follow a system of assigning categories and tags to the website and its content that takes them closer to their objectives, even if these categories and tags are at odds with the general understanding the world might have of the content offered on their website.

As opposed to a self-classification, a third-party doing the classification is likely to be a more neutral one where the world view takes precedence over the view of the website owner. This information can be valuable for many companies.

Detecting malicious websites

As earlier stated, a website or web page can be created by anyone. Not everyone may have noble intentions, as proven time and again in the course of history. Websites are no different.

Cyberattacks can have a disastrous consequence for organizations big and small. Theft of information and disruption of automated processes could result from malware attacks. In addition, they could also open up the business for consequential damages to third parties, apart from loss of consumer confidence. If you come to know that a certain travel portal you have been using for your bookings has been the target of a cyberattack resulting in the loss of data pertaining to customer logins and their passwords. Apart from losing respect for the portal, you would also run the risk of those IDs and PWs being misused as many people use similar, if not the same, IDs and PWs across many websites.

In such cases, prevention is certainly better than trying to cure it later. The ability to identify such sites will certainly give you a head start.

Staff access

Productivity of employees is closely monitored by many employers. With many of the applications used by employees gradually becoming web based, access to the internet for employees, that may have been a choice many years back, is now a given.

With access to the internet comes the ability to access the billions of websites out there. Apart from being potential malware hazards for the company’s network, it can also be viewed as a waste of productive time. Hence, the company may wish to block access to certain types of websites from being accessed by employees, or give access only on a need-to-access basis instead of making it a default. The marketing team may need access to social media websites but the sales team may not.

Insights made available by web categorization tools can help companies in even determining which ones to block and which ones to permit access to.

Marketing decisions

Categorization operates as an aid to marketing decision-making. With marketing spends moving towards online marketing, it is important to spend wisely and get the maximum mileage out of those spends.

With limitations on online marketers’ access to browsing information of people gradually increasing, website categories are often used as a good surrogate to take decisions regarding contextual marketing and placement of advertisements. It allows for display of ads on websites that target customers are expected to visit and browse, instead of doing it only on the basis of keywords and tags.

It not only helps to create a positive list which the company is comfortable in being associated with, it also helps them avoid association with unsavory websites that could tarnish the brand. 

Parental control

This is a bit like access to staff members. School-going children are extensive users of the internet. With the Covid-19 enforced lockdowns, much of school education has moved online. In order to prevent exposure of children to inappropriate content, parents can use categories to block access to websites for their children.

oWorkers understands the importance of categorization for its clients. In addition to trained human resources, oWorkers is able to access the latest technology tools suitable for this activity, thanks to its enduring partnership with leading providers of technology. Our clients also benefit from our relationships because eventually these technologies are used for client projects.

Our staff being employees, as opposed to freelancers and contractors used by many competitors, have a stake in the success of client projects. On the flip side, they benefit from the constant guidance they receive from oWorkers for performance improvement as well as progress in their careers. It makes for a symbiotic relationship, with both feeding off each other.

 

How is it done?

Manually

Like most other things, it can be done manually. Before anything is automated, it is manual. Once a process or task becomes ongoing, automation solutions are sought that help in increasing processing volumes and efficiency and relieving humans of repetitive tasks.

In manual categorization, a set of users will typically review the content of a website, identify relationships, keywords, concepts, etc. and place it in a category as defined by the rules and requirements of the organization.

However, there is a challenge. According to the Hosting Tribunal, there are over 2 billion websites in existence with under 400 million of these being active.

Handling such volumes, even assuming it were possible, would be extremely time-consuming, expensive and slow.

Automated

With the help of technology and tools built for the purpose, website categorization is generally handled through automation. It could be simple taxonomy-based mix and match engines or more advanced technologies that leverage Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Automated tools may have a schedule of crawling through the web and categorizing websites and maintaining the data on their files that can be accessed by users. They could, generally in addition, and sometimes only, have an online and real-time categorization process through which as soon as a website is called, their engine will ingest that URL, study it, categorize it, and release the information to the caller. Once again, the information generated will be retained for the benefit of other users.

Subscribers to automated website content categorization services will get the benefit of this workflow when a user within their network calls a website.

There are many providers but, as always, the quality varies and the offerings may be different too, including their method of categorization. You will need to ensure that the service will be able to maintain an updated database and be in a position to scan ‘on the fly.’

It is probably ironic, but the best automated tools are the ones that are able to mimic the human mind and human process the closest. The same applies to content categorization tools.

oWorkers being GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified keeps your business secure when you partner with them. In addition, they operate from secure facilities in three different parts of the world. In fact, oWorkers has been one of the earliest BPOs to equip staff to work from home, ensuring their clients’ businesses remained unaffected during the peak of the Covid-19 driven lockdowns around the world. Today, oWorkers is fully equipped to work from the office as well as home, depending on the situation on any given day.

 

Common categories

Each company’s strategy for website content categorization might be unique, based on their own understanding of the concept as well as the positioning of their offering and target customer segment.

The following is an indicative list of categories that one is likely to find in most tools:

  • E-commerce
  • Gaming
  • Gambling and betting
  • Sports
  • Job search
  • Drugs
  • News
  • Video streaming
  • Legal
  • Social Media
  • Music
  • Malicious
  • Adult
  • Phishing
  • DDNS Services
  • Search engine
  • Pornographic
  • Remote Proxies
  • Web Mail
  • Chats
  • Instant Messaging

 

With several unicorn marketplaces as longtime clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work as well as client concerns. They have centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world and employ a multi-cultural team which enables them to offer services in 22 languages.

It is led by a management team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry. Under their guidance, oWorkers has been going from strength to strength.

The Challenges of Commercial Content Moderation

The Challenges of Commercial Content Moderation

The Challenges of Commercial Content Moderation

The internet has taken over our lives in many ways. All in a matter of a quarter of a century, a blink-and-you-miss long duration in the context of humanity and our planet. It has kept making inroads into our day to day lives, gradually accounting for more and more of what we do and how we do anything.

  • We no longer need to go to a ticket counter or a travel agent to book a flight ticket. We can do it on the internet.
  • We no longer need to get into a conference room with ten other people to have a meeting or a discussion. We can do it over the internet.
  • We no longer need to get four people across a table in a room to play bridge. We can do it on the internet.
  • We no longer need to go to bookstores to buy a book. We can do it through the internet.

There is no end to the list of things that can be done online. Of course, the experience is probably going to be different, and some may complain about the loss of a lifestyle they were used to, but there is no denying that the internet has fundamentally changed our way of life.

Add social media in the mix and the potion becomes even more potent.

Social media allows and facilitates an almost endless flow of sharing of ideas and content in the form of text, audio, images and video, in groups and communities and circles that span the whole wide world. It covers not only individuals, but entities and organizations of all types including business and not for profit organizations, societies and trusts, schools and colleges, private and public, and everything in between. Since such a large part of humanity uses social media, commercial entities anyway get drawn to it like flies to honey, in the hope of communicating their sales messages to them and taking their agenda forward.

Commercial content moderation, or any other, oWorkers is clear about its focus areas, and specializes in data based activities such as moderation. In its journey of eight years, it has supported a wide set of global clients with content moderation work enabling them to focus on their primary business. Its success can be measured by the growth in relationships over this period. oWorkers is recognized as one of the three best providers of back-office BPO services in the world on multiple occasions. oWorkers being GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified keeps your business secure when you partner with them.

 

What is commercial content moderation?

In the pre-internet days, content for mass consumption could be produced and distributed by a limited set of entities who could be identified and controlled reasonably easily. As a result, all the content producers also exercised reasonable restraint while publishing content.

Today, every person using the internet, especially social media, is a content producer, apart from being a consumer. The graduate in Atlanta can share her ordeals while looking for a job, even as the Dubai-based executive tries to impress people with pictures of his recent vacation to Switzerland even as the homemaker in Melbourne uploads videos of her cooking skills. With more than half the world’s seven billion plus people using the internet in one way or another, the volume of content being generated and consumed is astonishingly huge.

The name given to this type of content creation is User Generated Content, or UGC.

Not everyone sharing content is concerned about the rules of the game, or the responsibility of existing in a civil society. While most participants and content creators will be conscious of their responsibilities, a few may not be, and end up poisoning the entire ecosystem.

What can go wrong? What can these content creators do? Here are some samples:

  • They can deliver hate speeches and messaging and create schisms in society
  • Divisive messaging, either political or religious, can threaten the law and order situation
  • Graphic violence and pornographic videos can be uploaded
  • Spam and malware threats can be spread
  • Fake news and misleading articles can create confusion and divisions
  • Cyberbullying can be used to target individuals and groups

These are just a few examples. The bottomline is that such content, often in the name of ‘free speech,’ can be used for furthering the narrow and misguided aims of a few misguided souls, creating divisions, hatred, violence and prejudice in the society at large. There are also especially vulnerable groups like children who also access these platforms, and stand to be corrupted by such content.

The process of identifying and removing such content is referred to as content moderation. UGC is the main reason for the need for content moderation since anyone and everyone can create it, not just a few identified individuals organizations.

But what is commercial content moderation?

Taking the discussion a step forward, when the moderation exercise is done on web properties that have a commercial angle to them, then that is what content moderation becomes; commercial.

That could be everything. All social media platforms are commercial ventures, be it Facebook, or Youtube, or Twitter, or Instagram. Some of their founders/ owners like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are billionaires many times over.

Then come the commercial entities, the for-profit enterprises, who park themselves on a corner of these platforms and seek to create a space where they can reach out to the users of that platform, as well as provide a space where they can carry out promotional activities for their own business. They need to keep their space squeaky clean and ensure that users are not turned away by what they see there. They need to do content moderation in their own spaces too. That is also commercial content moderation.

The management team of oWorkers, with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry, understand moderation and its many methods. Under their guidance, oWorkers has been going from strength to strength. With several unicorn marketplaces as long-time clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work as well as client concerns. With centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world and employing a multi-cultural team, enable it to offer multilingual services to clients.

 

How is it done?

It is a messy, ungainly process, with major platforms spending in the billions to keep their platforms free of malicious content. Some use inhouse resources while some outsource the activity to specialist BPO companies who do the work of screening out unwelcome content. A combination of the two is also adopted by many.

The desired approach for most companies who need moderation on their spaces is to moderate the content before it becomes visible to visitors. However, the volume of content being uploaded often makes this an impossible task, since this delays the content being published, upsetting users generating the content and reducing the vibrancy of the platform and impinging on free-flowing conversations. As a result, there are many other post-publish moderation techniques used by owners. This could be a post-moderation exercise where moderators keep working on the content and removing objectionable ones. However, the objectionable content would probably have been seen by some users. It could also be through the involvement of users and visitors who either flag off objectionable content that gets reviewed by administrators and acted upon, or a voting system in which objectionable content gets voted down and gradually vanishes from sight. Depending on the sensitivity of the content, one or more methods of moderation could be used, each with its own pros and cons.

Artificial Intelligence is the big hope of platforms that need commercial content moderation. It is hoped that AI will become smart enough to moderate a large proportion of content being generated, before it is published. It will be able to overcome many of the issues because of which manual pre-moderation is not possible, such as volume, capacity and cost.

Until the time it becomes viable and feasible, manual moderation is the way to go.

Of course, no moderation is also a method and ‘free speech’ is often used in justification. It may be possible in groups which are access controlled in some manner, but not on open platforms with access to everyone.

Thanks to their position as a preferred employer in the communities it works with, oWorkers has access to talented staff who are provided training to make them ready for the job of moderation, whether it is pre or post. Our walk-in traffic also enables them to keep their hiring costs low, as they do not need to advertise for candidates, which eventually gets passed back to clients as better pricing.

The walk-in talent pool gives them, and consequently their clients, other benefits too, like flexibility of handling ramps. The deep talent pool oWorkers has access to, enables them to meet these short-term requirements, which most clients have from time to time, without breaking a sweat. They can hire almost a hundred additional people within 48 hours. This is a substantial saving for clients who may otherwise have to hire resources for the full year and keep them idle when work volumes are normal.

 

What about moderators?

So far, we have been talking of moderation as an abstract activity. But let us not forget that as long as it is a manual activity it needs to be performed by human beings. These are the foot soldiers in the war against malicious content and the perpetrators of that content. The people who spend hours every day, or night, peering at computer screens, perhaps in an isolated, secretive space since they are the ones to authorise what should become visible to others. They are the ones who need to be familiar with the rules of the platform they are moderating content for, and ensure they do it accurately.

So what? Many of us do that.

What is different about the work being done by people who do commercial content moderation is that they need to go through, review, and take a stand on hurtful, malicious, graphically violent, pornographic, divisive, hateful, fake, bullying content in their line of duty. The result is that in the process of protecting others, they expose themselves to that body of content and all the psychological issues it could have on them. They put themselves in the line of fire to protect others. No doubt there is a commercial consideration that impels them to do it, but the risks of the job are now reasonably well known.

There is a lively debate in progress on the subject, since some of the largest names in business are the ones who need content moderation the most. With the scale that content generation has acquired, the money that needs to be spent in doing it is not peanuts any more. Most large companies use the strategy of hiving off the activity to a supplier, possibly located in a geography with access to cheap resources, who is better at hiring people at lower costs for doing the work, resulting in a lower bill to the platform or corporation for whom it is being done.

There is a lot of effort made by the platforms in conveying to the world at large how well the people who do this work are taken care of. From comfortable office spaces, to fair wages and working conditions, to benefits. While all that may be true, the unfortunate fact seems to be that the psychological scars of the job are, at the end of the day, to be borne by the individual and perhaps her near and dear ones. This aspect of the job is now receiving increased attention globally. Some of the largest corporations in the US have reached multimillion dollar settlements with groups of moderators for the enduring scars left on their psyche as a result of this work over a period of time. Workers in outsourced countries, however, may not even have access to adequate psychological care and support as there is social stigma associated with them.

oWorkers is sensitive to the peculiar requirements of this work and the toll it can extract from people doing it. An advantage we have over competitors is that we work with employed staff, and not contractors or freelancers as some of them seem to prefer. This gives us a stake in the well-being and development of our staff members. We regularly rotate our staff members across different engagements. This helps them in staying fresh, getting experience, and avoiding the ill-effects deep exposure to work like moderation might have.

oWorkers has been one of the earliest BPOs to equip staff to work from home, ensuring their clients’ businesses remained unaffected during the peak of the Covid-19 driven lockdowns around the world. Today, oWorkers is fully equipped to work from the office as well as home, depending on the situation on any given day.

 

The oWorkers advantage

With several unicorn marketplaces as long-time clients, oWorkers understands the challenges of this work as well as client concerns. Many clients, particularly from Western Europe and the US, mention savings of almost 80% after outsourcing work to oWorkers, and getting the benefit of their transparent pricing models.

We have supported many deserving youngsters from challenged backgrounds to get a job in the global digital marketplace, in each of the three locations we have centers in. Your commercial content moderation work will help us extend the opportunity to a few more.

How to use AI for custom content tagging

How to use AI for custom content tagging

How to use AI for custom content tagging

Most of us perhaps have a general understanding of AI, short for Artificial Intelligence.

Though we have been witness to tremendous changes in our lifestyles thanks to the rapid advances digital technology has made in just one generation, the computing ability of that wonderful organ, the human brain, remains unsurpassed. Not that digital technology does not have advantages over the human brain. It can process much larger volumes than one single brain. It can apply defined rules, without fail, transaction after transaction. It does not tire or bore, of doing the same task over and over again.

And this is mostly with reference to what we call structured data. Software tools are able to understand characters when they are input in a structured format, what we often refer to as software code or software programs. Software can identify these characters and, based on their arrangement, interpret their meaning and take action based on those meanings.

However, when we come to unstructured information, software is not able to match the human brain. The effort has been ongoing now for many years for enabling machines to understand, interpret and act upon unstructured information, and to update themselves based on the additional inputs they keep receiving. This is usually referred to as AI, the ability of a machine to think like the human brain. We are already seeing AI being used in various types of software solutions. If we search for an airline ticket from New York to Chicago, you will perhaps start seeing advertisements for hotels and cab companies in Chicago. Stepping aside the issue of invasiveness of technology for a moment, this is an example of AI, where the software is able to understand that if you are traveling to Chicago, you will perhaps need a hotel to stay and a car to move around in.

There are many applications for AI, many under advanced stages of exploration. AI for custom content tagging is one of them.

Operating from geographies long considered the most suitable for data based BPO, oWorkers offers a host of services to its clients, in over 22 languages, among them content tagging.

 

What is content tagging?

A content management system could be described as a software that is used to produce and read, as well as do a number of other actions on, content on the web. A content tag is a term or identifier or locator added to it so that it becomes grouped with other pieces of content that might have been similarly tagged. It could be seen as a tool for content classification.

For example, a blogger may be publishing a blog based on sport, in which she writes about various sports and different aspects of each. Let us say she writes mostly on tennis, football and baseball. Some of her posts could be on games that have been recently played. Some could be on the careers of major players in the sport. Some might focus on team composition, some on new signings for the season, and so on and so forth.

She can tag her posts in many different ways, based on its contents and based on the profile of her readers. The most obvious one would be to tag it based on the sport it is about; tennis, football or baseball. She could also tag it with the names of the major players that feature in each post, say Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. With this tagging, if a reader is interested in posts about Djokovic, he can simply click on that tag and directly access all posts that have been similarly tagged.

A hierarchy of tags can also be used. For instance, the player’s name as tag may be a second level tag, after the main tag of the sport has been chosen.

A content tag, then, becomes an item that is visible to the audience or readership, and often appears in the form of a hyperlink that can be clicked to access its underlying contents. The primary objective of tags is not good SEO karma. They are used more from the perspective of end users and make filtering and accessing content easier for them.

While much of content tagging has been done manually, AI for custom content tagging is now increasingly being used to make content structured and useful.

Much of the success achieved by oWorkers can be attributed to their deep engagement with the communities they work in, that gives them an edge in hiring resources for various assignments. As a top employer, they receive a constant stream of walk-in applicants, from which they can choose the most suitable. It also keeps hiring costs low, as they neither need to advertise nor travel from one location to another in search of candidates.

The constant supply also gives them the flexibility to ramp up when a client needs it for unplanned or unforeseen volumes that they don’t want to let go of, as it is additional business. oWorkers estimates that they can ramp up by an additional 100 resources within 48 hours. This is a huge cost saving for clients who don’t need to maintain buffer resources to meet such peaks.

 

Benefits of tagging content

Here are some benefits content owning organizations might hope to realize from their efforts, regardless of whether AI for custom content tagging has been used in the exercise or not:

  • It keeps content relevant for a long time to come. While content may have been created based on circumstances and events at a point in time, which will gradually fade, the tags this content gets associated with can be expected to have a much longer life.
  • It creates a sort of common platform for content to be accessible through, regardless of the technology platform it resides on or the authoring tools used.
  • The content gets life as the monetization opportunities get multiplied with tagging, whether through advertising rates increasing, more syndication opportunities, licencing or recommendations.
  • The relevance of each tag, and in an indirect way, the underlying content, can be estimated based on their visibility and usage. This also provides inputs to the organization for future content creation.
  • Metadata can provide the intelligence to base publishing decisions like what and when on. It also becomes easier to repurpose content when the description and organization are predictable and consistent.

oWorkers staff being employees, and not contractors as some competitors choose, there is flexibility in deployment. oWorkers pays local and social taxes for all staff. They regularly receive ratings of 4.65 or more on a scale of 5 on portals like Glassdoor.

 

Where does AI for custom content tagging fit in?

Content published on the web needs metadata to be associated with it so that it gets context and becomes searchable and accessible to machines and software programs, which is what content tagging does. If content tagging adds value, it needs to be done.

Before automation there was, or is, a manual process. The same applies to content tagging. In the examples of the blogger that we had discussed earlier, she perhaps tags her content manually. This is also how many organizations do it when they start out with producing content for consumption of their customers or others. As they find success with their early efforts, the need for larger volumes of content, and consequently greater tagging effort, soon become a reality, especially for consumer businesses that need to reach out to a large number of customers and potential customers.

It may be enough for some organizations to neatly classify their content for internal use, many others will probably wish to extract the mileage they can extract out of it for business benefit. They would like to use the content at their disposal, which is also growing, in an intelligent manner, again making content tagging a requirement.

Depending on the core system where tagging is being done, content tags can be applied either in a rigid manner, in the form of selecting from an available dropdown list, or it can be a more open system where even users are allowed to create tags that then become available for future use and search. A combination of the two may also be possible.

Manual tagging, while it may deliver results that are closest to what the content owner desires, suffers from the usual limitations of manual processes. It limits the scale to which it can be applied; a human can only do so much and no more. Expanding the manual effort entails a cost. And sometimes, humans can think and act in different ways, thanks to the organ known as the human brain, leading to compromises in standardization.

This is where automation and AI for custom content tagging can overcome some of these limitations and support the business in tagging their content. Technology makes it possible to perform content tagging in many different ways, mostly relying on advances like semantic extraction, content analytics and natural language processing (NLP), creating metadata that enables other machines on the world wide web to find that piece of content. More often than not, AI models are relied upon to make the unstructured information understandable to other computers.

While it may enable content owners to efficiently and effectively tag their content to make it accessible, how they do it and what they do with the content in order to meet the business objectives, remains their problem to solve.

Their deep relationships with technology companies gives oWorkers the heft to leverage the latest technologies and use them for delivery which, again, is a benefit to clients. oWorkers is not only GDPR compliant, but also ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified.

 

What does AI for custom content tagging do?

Many publishers are looking at AI with hopes of leveraging the technology for creating content tagging for their vast archives of information, thereby releasing them for use and monetization. Once the engine has been primed with enough training in the form of terms and examples and samples, and the AI now knows what to expect and what to do, it can speed up the process of publishing and make content available faster. It also makes content tagging predictable and less prone to the errors that only humans can make, like missing put on key tags altogether.

While in publishing and archiving documents, time may not be a constraint, but in certain other aspects of publishing, like news, time is of the essence. At such times, expecting humans to create metadata at the speed of breaking news might be unrealistic. In such situations, an AI engine can keep pace with breaking news and continue to tag content as soon as it is published. Of course, the underlying assumption in this is that the AI engine has been well trained through adequate examples and data.

Individuals will often save content in ways that seem most appropriate to them. But everyone thinks differently. What may be intuitive to one may not be to another. Companies that rely on AI for tagging often improve the searchability of their content manifold, as it becomes predictable and standard. AI can work with form data, extract information from unstructured text and help in grouping similar content together.

With its clearly defined focus on data services, oWorkers is a pure player and has been identified as one of the top three BPO providers in the world. It is led by a team that has over 20years of hands-on experience in the industry.

 

oWorkers provides tagging support

Organizations are not alone if they are starting out on their journey. Established vendors like oWorkers, who have been doing content tagging for many years, are available for support for AI for custom content tagging.

They work for several unicorn marketplaces, with clients routinely note savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to them. They also appreciate the pricing choice they get, between dollars per unit of input or dollars per unit of output, based pricing.

The 24/7 operation they run not only ensures quick turnaround on transactions but can also provide business continuity in case of a particular location not being accessible.

Client work enables them to engage underprivileged youngsters from local communities and usher them into the global digital economy. Your work will enable them to do the same for a few more.

Selecting a partner for content tagging moderation

Selecting a partner for content tagging moderation

Selecting a partner for content tagging moderation

Content moderation is, perhaps, a reasonably well understood concept. It refers to the practice of viewing/ reading/ hearing content that is being created by billions of users around the world and published on one web property or the other, where it can be accessed by many others. The practice ensures that content being published adheres to the established rules of the site, and also protects viewers from content that is malicious and harmful in many different ways.

Content tagging moderation, however, may not be as widely used or as well understood a term.

 

What is content tagging?

A content tag can be viewed as a metadata that is ascribed to a particular publication on the web. With the help of the tag, the publication can be linked to other web publications on the web that are similarly tagged. It becomes a kind of identity of classification for the publication. For example, if a publication has a tag called ‘baseball’ attached to it, it becomes loosely identified with many other publications that also have the tag ‘baseball’ assigned to them.

Content tags are visible to the audience/ visitors and can be used to access other similarly tagged publications on the system. If the viewer chooses the ‘baseball’ tag, she should be able to access all other publications on the system that are similarly tagged.

And it is not an either/ or situation. One does not have to choose a tag at the expense of another, equally worthy one. Multiple tags can be ascribed to a publication, making the metadata even richer. You could attach other tags like ‘Yankees’ and ‘2021,’ depending on the context.

The tagging is usually done by the creator or owner of the publication. However, there are other methods too. 

Automated tagging or AI-enabled tagging is gaining in popularity and is becoming more accurate each passing day. With vast volumes of legacy content yet to be appropriately tagged, it is expected that automated tagging will help in making these archives accessible and user-friendly through the tagging process.

There is also a collaborative tagging mechanism through which tags can be assigned by readers/ viewers of the content. These tags get added to the ‘tag cloud’ which hovers over each piece of content.

Content tagging can be done either as a ‘selection’ process where a tag is selected from a dropdown or available set of possible options. It can also be a free-format entry where each time a new tag could be created.

In the current context, hashtags are a method of content tagging that is reasonably understood by many. 

 

The purpose and use of content tagging

As it is an activity done deliberately, there must be a reason why it is done.

Eventually the purpose of all tagging is to make the tagged content more useful and more usable for the consumer. How?

  • Tagging gives life and visibility to content, creating opportunities for content to be discovered and licensed as well as syndicated, giving a filip to advertising revenue. Monetisation opportunities through endorsements also get enhanced.
  • Publishers get insights into consumer behavior, which, in turn, can lead to generation of more appropriate and targeted content, leading to enhanced traffic.
  • Searchability of the underlying content gets enhanced with the addition of metadata that users are likely to search for.

If content tagging is expected to deliver some results and benefits, it stands to reason that the better it is done, the better the results and the more magnified the benefits of the activity.

This is where content tagging moderation comes into the picture.

Content moderators can add, modify and remove tags from content in order that content becomes more useful for the author/ publisher and facilitates meeting the objectives with which it was published.

In content moderation, user generated content (UGC) is reviewed and mostly either approved for publishing or rejected, in order that the content available to visitors to that website meets the standards of publishing of that site and also comply with generally accepted norms of society.

Content tagging moderation, to extend the argument further, operates on content tags in a somewhat similar manner and seeks to make them suitable for the purpose of the organization that owns the content. This could involve removing tags or adding new ones. It is also designed to lead to better product discovery which, in turn, leads to better engagement with visitors to the website.

 

What is the best way of doing it?

We live in a world with choices. Businesses and organizations have them too.

In an inter-connected, hyper-competitive world, companies often struggle to survive and eke out a living for their owners and staff. Getting into doing more activities that may not be seen as core, that require different skill sets and knowledge, may create a further drag on their performance.

Advances made by telecommunications technology as well as their gradual penetration around the globe, has created opportunities for outsourcing. For outsourcers, it is an opportunity for employing a skilled workforce that they do not have, at affordable prices. For companies taking on the outsourced work, it is often an opportunity to access a global marketplace for their skills, while creating employment opportunities in a relatively underserved geography.

Content tagging moderation is no different.

BPO companies like oWorkers have emerged, focused on the data and related services required by global corporations, and honed their skills through regular use over many years with many different clients. It has been recognized as one of the top three BPO providers of data and related services anywhere in the world.

Companies can now outsource non-core activities to specialist resources of an outsourcing company, with skilled, motivated resources, hired for that task, leaving their own resources to continue to focus on the core business, something they are experienced in and committed to, without worry about them being distracted and making a mess of both sides. 

The provider, for whom that work is the main business, can be expected to make efforts to excel. Aggregation of volumes across clients will also give them the heft to invest in improvement in processes and technology, with some of the benefits likely to flow back to the outsourcer clients.

This might be a sign of evolution, but engaging partners for specialized non-core requirements is now an accepted principle of business. ‘Should we outsource?’ is no longer the primary question; it is ‘what is the best way to outsource?’

 

How to select a provider?

With outsourcing becoming a popular choice, how should one go about the task of identifying a supplier who will add value to the job? 

Given below are some suggestions on the criteria that should be used:

Readiness for work from home or office

Clearly the pandemic that started in Q1 2020 has left a lasting impression and changed life and ways of working in significant ways. The inability to gather together in large numbers put a halt to office life as we have known it and opened the doors to ‘work from home’ so that people did not need to be in physical proximity and increase the opportunities of transmission of the virus. While progress has been made, with many vaccines claiming to provide immunity, ‘work from home’ has come to stay. Also, there is some uncertainty and it is expected that there could be more periods of heightened threat requiring people to confine themselves to their homes. Working from the office can no longer be taken for granted even though many organizations have started doing so.

oWorkers has been one of the first BPOs to step up and create an environment for its staff to work either from home, or office, depending on the conditions on any given day, and also based on the personal situation of each individual. Their proactive efforts have enabled most of their clients to continue uninterrupted services to clients even during the most virulent phases of the pandemic. 

Pricing

Pricing tends to be a focus area in all commercial engagements, hence needs to be placed at the head of the list of criteria. However, it is always advisable to take a balanced view, and not let pricing be the sole determinant of partner selection. The focus should be on finding a value creator and not the cheapest provider.

Clients of oWorkers often note that they reduce costs by almost 80% when they outsource content tagging moderation. This is particularly true for clients from Western Europe and the US. The transparent pricing mechanism, through which they get a choice between a dollar per unit of output or dollar per unit of input pricing, also serves to increase their confidence in the provider.

Technology

Technology is the big enabler for the outsourcing business and has made it possible for it to reach the far corners of the world, riding on advancements in telecommunications. Hence, it is important to establish the technology capability of a potential vendor. It is both a hygiene factor as well as a differentiator.

With the help of its ongoing partnership with major technology providers, oWorkers is able to access the latest versions of the most modern technologies. This eventually helps clients as the technologies are used to deliver on client projects and assignments.

Data security

In a hyper-competitive world, information holds value. Information pertaining to its business is an asset that every company wishes to safeguard. Providers being evaluated should be able to demonstrate that they do not have compromises in their systems and processes through which confidential information can leak out. 

oWorkers is ISO (27001 and 9001) certified with staff signing and operating under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Where required, they offer physical segregation of projects of different clients through access control mechanisms.

Ability to hire efficiently

Human resources is the other enabler for the industry, through which the work actually gets done. The ability to hire on a regular basis, for new positions as well as to replace people who are leaving, since attrition is a factor in BPOs, and train them for the role, is a key differentiator. 

Being a preferred employer in all its delivery locations, oWorkers gets a steady stream of walk-in traffic of interested candidates. This provides a choice of resources that can be hired based on projects at hand, while keeping hiring costs low, which benefit, again, eventually flows back to clients.

Short term spike handling

Related to the ability to hire is the ability to handle spikes and troughs in client volumes. While all clients have some method of estimating future capacity requirements, real life always throws some curveballs. Keeping excess staff is a financial drain. Not handling offered volumes when they spike is poor business management. No business would like to let go of available opportunities. Hence, the ability to handle temporary, unplanned peaks and troughs, peaks more particularly, is an important consideration.

oWorkers offers the flexibility of adding a hundred staff to your project within 48 hours, should the need arise. This is a significant value for most clients, as they neither have to pay for unworked resources, nor let content tagging moderation volumes go abegging.

Handling work in multiple languages

All companies want growth. Often growth takes them to uncharted territories, needing additional expertise and skills, like languages. A partner needs to enable growth, not be a hurdle to it. A client would not want growth plans to be changed because an existing partner could not scale up. Or go looking for an additional supplier each time they expand.

oWorkers employs a multicultural, multiethnic workforce in its three strategically placed global centers. This allows it to provide services in 22 languages to its clients, which have been able to serve all expansion and language requirements. 

Excellence in work

This is really a given. Unless they can demonstrate the ability to provide excellent delivery, they should perhaps not even be in the fray. However, from an outsourcer’s perspective it is an important consideration to evaluate. Prospective partners should be able to demonstrate capability as well as provide references of clients for whm similar work has been done in the past. External recognition in that line of work is also useful.

oWorkers makes available many of its clients’ names on its website, except where some specific reason does not allow it to. Most of its clients are referenceable and open to providing feedback to potential clients evaluating their services. 

Turnaround time commitment

This is the third corner of the popular operations or delivery triangle, pricing and quality being the other two. Global locations sometimes have the advantage of being on the flip side of the timezone scale, allowing for overnight delivery, which speeds up things for clients. Even otherwise, if such a difference in time does not exist, speed of delivery is an important consideration and should be a part of the contract that eventually gets agreed.

While overnight delivery is provided, time zones permitting, oWorkers has a delivery machinery that is equipped to operate 24×7 for clients who need it. A quick turnaround is what they prefer to offer, as it enables them to do even more for their clients.

Robust financial position

While this does not impact delivery directly, an adverse financial position can take the focus of the partner away from the core work. After all, each company exists to make money for its owners. What can also happen is that stretched financials may prevent required investments from being made, eventually imparting delivery and quality. In a way, this could be a lead indicator of impending troubles.

oWorkers has been a consistently profitable entity. It is registered as a local company in all its delivery locations and pays local and social taxes, as per regulation. As it operates from the Eurozone, it is also necessarily GDPR compliant.

 

Conclusion

As a pure provider of data entry BPO solutions, with multilingual capability, oWorkers has few peers. That is perhaps the reason why several unicorn marketplaces have chosen to work with it. oWorkers has a hands-on top management team with over 20 years of experience in the business. Despite the development of a competent middle management layer in the company, they stay immersed in delivery, provide direction to the team and often directly interacts with clients

With its model of working with employed staff, and not contractual or outsourced staff, oWorkers has the flexibility to deploy them as per best fit. It also monitors and manages their performance. It continues to receive favorable feedback on Glassdoor from present and past employees.

oWorkers deploys the Quality Analyst (QA) model and regularly reviews the work done by frontline staff. This prevents poor quality from affecting clients, and also provides an early warning to top management to intervene and take actions to halt the slide. It has consistently delivered over 99% accuracy levels in all its engagements, including content tagging moderation, as measured by different clients across different scales and measurement systems.

How to do content categorization for self-driving cars?

How to do content categorization for self-driving cars?

How to do content categorization for self-driving cars?

Once in a while, a development takes place that alters the trajectory of humankind and has a far-reaching impact on many aspects of our lives.

The automobile, or motor car, is possibly one such invention which, combined with the assembly line production pioneered by Ford, made cars affordable and commonplace.

It got rid of people’s reliance on horse-drawn transportation for traveling any kind of long distance. Distances that could be travelled became longer as the means of transport did not need to be rested or fed. Traveling for work or vacation rose, with a consequent rise in motels and quick-food outlets to house and feed travelers on the move. Suburban living came into being, since it became possible to commute some distance every day for work.

More than anything, it fed the yearning for independence, even rebellion, and acquired a prominent place in popular culture with movies, books and even music paying homage to the idea of the automobile, like a James Dean driving a Mercury coupe in Rebel Without A Cause or Don McLean singing about driving his ‘Chevy to the levee’ in American Pie are unforgettable images and sounds emblazoned on our minds.

Efforts have been ongoing to enhance designs, technology, comfort, speed and many other aspects of cars, but they have all been incremental, small changes, without altering much the position of the automobile in common perception.

We now seem to be on the threshold of a development that could change the trajectory of humankind once again. The development is the introduction of autonomous or self-driving cars. For over a hundred years cars have relied on human intelligence to be driven. The fine senses and perceptions of that magnificent organ, the human brain, has found no match in the technology world.

While the superiority of the human brain remains unchallenged, a form of technology called Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged in the last few years that has shown potential to understand and interpret unstructured information that has, so far, not been possible for computers to do. They have only been able to understand and interpret and act upon structure information that is fed to them in the form of software code. Trials are being conducted by several leading technology companies, and introduction into the real world could happen soon. Content categorization for self-driving cars is one of the many key processes required to make this possible.

Whether it fires popular imagination in the same way as the manually driven automobile, with the attitude and romance associated with it, remains to be seen. But, from the commercial significance perspective, it is bound to be a significant event.

The leadership team of BPO provider oWorkers comes with hands-on experience of over 20 years in the industry. They actively track developments in the field of industry and technology in order to stay ahead of the curve in supporting clients. It is no surprise that oWorkers has figured in the top three global BPO providers list for data services on multiple occasions.

 

Content categorization for self-driving cars. How does it work?

AI models rely upon Machine Learning (ML) through which training is provided to the software that will eventually become an AI engine.

While it has been possible to understand structured textual information for a long time, what we typically refer to as software code, unstructured information has been beyond their ken. Only human beings have been able to understand and interpret unstructured information and act on it.

What is unstructured information?

All information is unstructured information for a machine, except which it has been trained or created to understand. For example:

  • Text – Textual content, when written in the format of software code, can be understood by a computer. Any other arrangement of characters cannot be understood.
  • Audio – A computer currently cannot understand audio the way the human ear can. It needs to be converted to a text string with the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies and then read. Most of the time, however, it will yield unstructured information.
  • Image – An image is a random collection of pixels, possibly in different colors and shades, for a computer, unlike the human brain for which it could be a piece of art.
  • Video – Being a combination of image sequences overlayed with audio, video is bound to be met with the same blank look, if it had one, to convey its inability to understand it.

ML seeks to train the engine by familiarizing it with the type of content it will encounter in real life, creating connections with interpretation or understanding, and take actions based on that understanding. Content categorization for self-driving cars is the process through which different objects are slotted into categories based on which actions can be taken.

The ability to understand unstructured information gives it the equivalence of the human brain, by taking information in from the various sensors that capture information around the vehicle, and put meaning to it. This is then interpreted and actioned for the purpose of navigating and driving the vehicle. The closer it gets to identifying and interpreting every little object, stationary or moving, if moving at what speed and in which direction, information that a human brain can intuitively understand and process, the closer it comes to the human brain.

As the effort continues to enable machines to acquire human-like brains, oWorkers supports client projects with the help of the human brains of its processing team. Being a preferred employer in each of its territories, it has access to the smartest human brains available to the industry. This also rubs off positively on its costs as it does not need to spend much to attract talent. They walk in on their own. This is due, in no small measure, to oWorkers actively participating in the community.

A related advantage, and a huge cost advantage to clients, is their ability to support short-term volume ramps. oWorkers can hire almost a hundred additional resources within 48 hours of a request. This obviates the need for clients to carry additional headcount during the rest of the period, in order to support that peak period which usually last only a few days.

 

How is understanding gained?

In order to gain an understanding, let us look at it in simple terms.

An autonomous car is likely to encounter many different objects when it drives around, like traffic signals, like pedestrians, like other vehicles, like trees and buildings and other stationary objects, and many others. Each of these objects will have their individual dimensions and attributes. Two trees will not be equally tall or wide. Two vehicles could be traveling at different speeds. But that is perhaps the next level of detail. Let us go back to the initial level, of the existence of different objects on the road.

As we have seen, before any action can be initiated, one needs to obtain an understanding of the object in respect to which action has to be taken. The car may need to slow down if it ‘sees’ pedestrians crossing the road. It may need to continue driving if it ‘sees’ a green traffic signal. It may need to manoeuvre its way around a tree if it ‘sees’ one standing in the way.

As part of the learning process, ML will enable the software to recognise an object when it sees one, a tree for instance. In other words, it enables categorization of objects based on which actions can be taken. This can be viewed as content categorization for self-driving cars.

As the ‘eye’ of the autonomous car will see everything around it as an image or as a sequence of images, ML will feed the software with images that the car is likely to encounter and connect them with the objects based on which it will be required to take actions. For instance, a certain collection of pixels arranged in a certain manner might be a tree whereas another collection of pixels in another manner could be a traffic signal. Then again, there could be many different pixel combinations that could represent a tree and the same is the case with a traffic signal. By feeding more and more information to the software, ML keeps making the knowledge base of the engine richer and richer till it is in a position to identify objects based on the arrangement of pixels that its ‘eye’ encounters.

The enduring partnerships that oWorkers has been able to forge with leading technology providers around the world ensures that they can access the latest tools for their (client) requirements. Once again, clients are a direct beneficiary as the technology is deployed for the delivery of their projects. Technology that in the ordinary course they would not have access to.

Being GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified is the starting point for oWorkers. Their facilities are secure and they were one of the first BPOs to create infrastructure enabling staff to work from home in a secure environment, given the constraints placed by the Covid-19 epidemic.

 

Why content categorization for self-driving cars is important

Incorrect classification of objects is a challenge frequently faced by AI models. And it could just be on account of a few pixels being classified incorrectly.

A small inaccuracy can lead to a big consequence since we are dealing with the real world here. Mistaking a pedestrian who can move for a tree that is stationary, or mistaking a moving vehicle with a business name printed on it for a stationary shop front, can have disastrous consequences. If a large proportion of objects identified as cars are black, the software could associate the color black with being a car.

ML algorithms can self-learn. In other words, they have the capacity to evolve based on the inputs they receive. It becomes possible to feed a significant amount of varied inputs to the system in order that the AI engine can develop a holistic ‘view.’ Being a machine, it also has the ability to overcome human limitations, such as identifying pixel-level differences, or interpreting rules faithfully or doing the same or similar tasks over and over again in a predictable manner.

Accurate content categorization for self-driving cars becomes possible with greater and varied training inputs. It is a slow process nevertheless. Time is also needed after the training phase to validate that the right output is being produced and applied. Of course, it is far from perfect, and far from the innate intelligence of the human brain. That sixth sense of a child running out suddenly from behind the stationary vehicle, of the eye contact and tacit agreement as to who will go first, cannot be replicated. Yet. However, with the latest developments, real-life usage might become possible soon.

 

Do more with oWorkers

If more affirmation is required, oWorkers has a transparent pricing policy. They generally offer a choice between output-based and input-based cost to its clients, many of whom report savings of over 80% after outsourcing work to oWorkers. Their ability to run a tight ship reflects on the competitive pricing they offer. They work with employees, not freelancers or contractors, as some competitors seem to choose. While this brings greater responsibility for staff development, it results in greater engagement of workers as well as provides flexibility to the company. They pay social taxes for their staff and are generally rated in excess of 4.65 on a 5-point scale by employees on Glassdoor.

With centers in three distinct geographical locations and a policy of multicultural, multi-ethnic employment, oWorkers offers many of its services in 22 languages, and is open to expanding the list, with suitable prior information. Its centers are equipped to operate on a 24×7 basis to meet client requirements and, together, create a redundancy pool through which clients can avail business continuity benefits.

Several unicorn marketplaces and technology companies rely on oWorkers to keep their business running. We hope that for content categorization for self-driving cars, you will, too.