Why is Facebook Content Moderation important?

Why is Facebook Content Moderation important?

Why is Facebook Content Moderation important?

Many voices today seem to suggest that the supremacy of Facebook among social media platforms has been challenged by many upstarts with their formats that appeal to the younger people and first-time users.

According to the website Datareportal, as of July 2021, there are over 4.48 billion registered users of social media platforms in the world with as many as 520 million signing up in the seven months (till July) of this year. More than half the global population uses social media one way or another, and a much larger proportion, close to 70%, if we consider ‘eligible users’ which will eliminate some demographics like children from the denominator, who cannot have social media accounts.

Facebook has 2.8 billion registered monthly active users. YouTube has 2.3 billion and WhatsApp, now a part of Facebook, has 2 billion. Instagram has 1.4 billion.

In a free market, the emergence of competition is inevitable. Each new player will make an effort at creating its own niche and try to address a segment whose needs, it believes, are not met by the existing products. Different platforms have been successful, to varying degrees, in challenging the supremacy of Facebook. However, as is evident from the data, Facebook remains numero uno in the social media space, and even more dominant if data for its group products like WhatsApp and Messenger are included which, on their own, are also easily in the top 10.

And that has been the situation ever since its founder Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, sat down in his Harvard dorm to write the code for creating it. Some of us have been exposed to the early days of Facebook thanks to The Social Network, a Hollywood movie based on the founding early days of Facebook and the controversies. Of course, it is a work of art, with creative license, hence to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Starting life at a time social media had started to fire the world’s imagination, oWorkers is steeped in the knowledge of the digital world. It has chosen to specialize in data related service offerings, including those related to social media. In its brief existence of 8 years, it is already counted as one of the top three providers of data based BPO services in the world.

 

Need for Facebook content moderation

As many users, as many opinions.

While from the business perspective its reach has perhaps exceeded the wildest imagination of its founders, who had, it is believed, intended to create a platform through which students, in Harvard as well as other universities, could communicate, its eventual popularity extending to a third of the global population, would no doubt have been a pleasant surprise. The popularity of Facebook has created huge revenue opportunities for the platform; for advertising, for data, for businesses looking to reach out to target segments for their products and services. The ways of monetizing the opportunity have continued to expand.

But blessings are never unmixed.

On the one hand, the openness of social media platforms, and the ability of users to access and create information, feeds into the modern-day narrative of freedom of speech and lowering of censorship barriers.

On the other hand, the same openness appears to be an invitation to some people to create content that might be considered to be vile and offensive by many others.

Like what?

Like hate speeches denigrating followers of a community or faith or group and exhorting people to violence.

Like images of graphic violence posted by an adherent of a terrorist organization.

Like pornographic videos.

And much more.

Social media platforms, eventually, are a mirror of real life. Just like in real life there is a small percentage of criminals who need to be managed, the percentage of creators of offensive content is pretty small, but since it is an open platform, efforts need to be made to ensure it does not reach the target audience and result in the harmful consequences it aims to create. This creates the need for Facebook content moderation.

Our global clients find the oWorkers pricing mechanism to be transparent and attractive, enabling them to save up to 80% of their original costs. This is especially true for clients from Western Europe and the US. Clients also appreciate the choice they get, of a price based on the input, like manhours, or a price based on the output produced.

 

Facebook content moderation – setting standards

In the interest of transparency, setting expectations is important. When we call someone out, it is done while weighing the called-out action or comment against an ‘expectation.’ That expectation, in day-to-day life could be borne out of commonly understood and accepted practices of human behavior that, even if not defined in letter, are generally well understood by most people. Of course, a more transparent form is to set the expectations, or guidelines, in letter, so that the room for ambiguity and interpretation can be reduced.

Organizations make an effort to articulate the guidelines that define expected behavior while interacting with the company on their property, like a website or a community page. Facebook is no different. In fact, social media being a business which makes it useful for a wide variety of people, or users, to join, setting out standards and expectations is particularly important as it provides a baseline against which participation could be evaluated. Moreover, users of the platform have to agree to abide by the rules and regulations that have been set out before they can begin participating.

‘Facebook Community Standards’ define content that is acceptable and that is unacceptable on the platform and can be viewed on the Facebook website. An extract from the page:

“The goal of our Community Standards is to create a place for expression and give people a voice. The Facebook company wants people to be able to talk openly about the issues that matter to them, even if some may disagree or find them objectionable. In some cases, we allow content—which would otherwise go against our standards—if it’s newsworthy and in the public interest. We do this only after weighing the public interest value against the risk of harm, and we look to international human rights standards to make these judgments.

Our commitment to expression is paramount, but we recognize the internet creates new and increased opportunities for abuse. For these reasons, when we limit expression, we do it in service of one or more of the following values:

AUTHENTICITY

We want to make sure the content people see on Facebook is authentic. We believe that authenticity creates a better environment for sharing, and that’s why we don’t want people using Facebook to misrepresent who they are or what they’re doing.

SAFETY

We’re committed to making Facebook a safe place. Content that threatens people has the potential to intimidate, exclude or silence others and isn’t allowed on Facebook.

PRIVACY

We’re committed to protecting personal privacy and information. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves, choose how and when to share on Facebook and connect more easily.

DIGNITY

We believe that all people are equal in dignity and rights. We expect that people will respect the dignity of others and not harass or degrade others.”

Community standards for Facebook content moderation “apply to everyone, all around the world, and to all types of content.” It is divided into sections for ease of reference. A few prominent ones are:

Violence and Criminal Behavior

This includes:

“Violence and Incitement

Dangerous Individuals and Organizations

Coordinating Harm and Publicizing Crime

Regulated Goods

Fraud and Deception”

Safety

This includes:

“Suicide and Self-Injury

Child Sexual Exploitation

Abuse and Nudity

Sexual Exploitation of Adults

Bullying and Harassment

Human Exploitation

Privacy Violations

Image Privacy Rights”

Objectionable Content

This includes:

“Hate Speech

Violent and Graphic Content

Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity

Sexual Solicitation”

oWorkers, with three strategically located global delivery centers, that can individually operate on a 24×7 basis should there be a client requirement for the same, are well equipped to provide business contingency to clients, by splitting volume across centers, with a common front to the client.

 

Enforcement of Facebook content moderation guidelines

A law without a mechanism for enforcement is usually considered to be toothless.

Facebook employs a combination of technology and people to enforce its guidelines in a two-step process of ‘detection’ and ‘taking action.’

Detection

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in detecting violations before they are reported or even viewed. This is in line with global trends. While human beings are better at evaluation of content and can understand the context and fine nuances much better than a machine, they have limitations in terms of capacity, and also cost money on an ongoing basis. With the huge amount of content being uploaded every second, it is always a losing battle for detecting offensive content.

Technology, on the other hand, can process and review millions of pieces concurrently. And, once developed, the running costs are fairly low. With technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) gaining ground, there is increasing reliance on technology for flagging off potentially harmful content.

Technology even helps reviewers prioritize content.

With the relationship that they have built with technology providers, oWorkers today has access to the latest in technology. This benefits their clients as the technologies are eventually used for work on their projects. The super secure facilities they operate from and their ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certifications, provide additional comfort to clients. They are also GDPR compliant.

Taking action

Technology works in concert with teams of reviewers to obstruct or delete offensive content. Facebook says, “Our technology proactively detects and removes the vast majority of violating content before anyone reports it. Engineers, data scientists and review teams work together to update and improve this technology over time. Meanwhile, our technology helps review teams prioritize content…Most of this happens automatically, with technology working behind the scenes to remove violating content—often before anyone sees it. Other times, our technology will detect potentially violating content but send it to review teams to check and take action on it.”

With their unique positioning as preferred employers, oWorkers attracts a steady stream of walk-in jobseekers. Not only does this reduce their hiring costs, reflecting in the attractive pricing they are able to offer, it also gives them a choice of talent for various projects, including content moderation. The steady stream also gives them the ability to hire for short-term peaks in demand, up to 100 additional resources within 48 hours.

Reviewer teams for Facebook content moderation are available across the world and provide 24×7 coverage and are capable of handling content in more than 50 languages. After all, offensive content is not the preserve of a particular language or culture or geography.

Having actively practised employing a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural team in all their offices, oWorkers has got the benefit of a multi-lingual support capability as a by-product. They are able to provide support in 22 of the most common global languages.

“As potential content violations get routed to review teams, each reviewer is assigned a queue of posts to individually evaluate. Sometimes, this review means simply looking at a post to determine whether it goes against our policies, such as an image containing adult nudity, in instances when our technology didn’t detect it first.

In other cases, context is key. For example, our technology might be unsure whether a post contains bullying, a policy area that requires extra context and nuance because it often reflects the nature of personal relationships. In this case, we’ll send the post to review teams that have the right subject matter and language expertise for further review. If necessary, they can also escalate it to subject matter experts on the Global Operations or Content Policy teams.”

Facebook has a number of tools in its arsenal as actions that can be initiated in the event of a violation. These typically include strikes, with each additional strike reducing the user’s privileges, placing restrictions on accounts, disablement of accounts, restriction on accounts of public figures during periods of civil unrest and removing pages and groups.

 

Supporting Facebook content moderation

oWorkers believes in working with employed staff, as opposed to some of our competitors, who prefer contractors and freelancers. Though it might mean carrying additional cost at times, it provides flexibility in deployment of resources while providing an experienced middle management layer in the organization. The team is led by a management team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry.

We work with many less privileged communities. The work they do for us becomes a ticket for an entry into the global digital economy for them. The work you outsource to us will enable us to usher a few more youngsters from these communities into the global digital economy.

Automation of reinsurance process is a work-in-progress

Automation of reinsurance process is a work-in-progress

The inroads of technology have not left any industry untouched. Take Reinsurance, for example. Advancements in risk and data modeling have delivered significant benefits to the industry over the last few decades.

However, different players in the space have different rates of adoption of technology. While some of the players in Reinsurance rely on cutting edge technology and tools to build and test models, there are many more who do it the old-fashioned way; no, not on an abacus and fingers, but Microsoft Excel. In many ways, in today’s world, that is perhaps equivalent to an abacus and counting on fingers. And it is not that these are struggling companies who do not have the investment dollars or the knowledge about these tools.

We must also remember that there are many related players operating in the space, such as insurers and brokers, who have their own journey and processes to manage.

As a relatively recent entrant into the industry, having started a little over 8 years back, oWorkers has notched up an enviable record of success offering data-based services to a wide variety of industries from across the world, partly thanks to its usage of the most modern technologies from the start. It is already recognized as one of the top three players in its defined space of work.

 

What does this lead to?

While they may not be struggling in terms of profitability, they are certainly sacrificing user experience and creating manual work that could just as easily be automated. More importantly, they are probably making it difficult for themselves to meet the increasingly demanding expectations of regulators, and are losing out on the insights that data modeling and analysis can provide that can help them in taking better decisions for the future of the business.

With its delivery centers located in some of the most accessible regions of the world, oWorkers is geared to support customers in their outsourcing initiatives that lead to process improvement as well as an uptick in customer experience. All its centers are geared to operate on a 24×7 schedule to match customer rhythms. And that is not all. It offers transaction processing capability in 22 languages, thanks to its support for a multicultural and multinational workforce and work environment that has resulted in a multilingual workforce.

 

The need to stay ahead

Like in any other industry, there is a constant need for leaders in the reinsurance industry to stay a step ahead of the curve by reimagining and rethinking how business is done. They need to look out for opportunities to update business processes as well as modernize them, taking help from tools and technologies that keep developing in parallel. And they have a wide variety of processes such as pricing, premium collections, claim payouts, MIS, etc. More than anything else, eliciting feedback from the vast volumes of data that large companies collect, is fast becoming a key competitive advantage, and not just for reinsurance. It is like a closed loop. It feeds data back that can be used for the improvement of business which then generates more insights, and so on.

oWorkers can be excused for its feeling of comfort in this area with a leadership team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry. This enables them to understand and even predict the changes that are coming and ensure that the company is well-prepared to meet them and even benefit from them.

 

Taking the leap

Taking the leap to a technologically advanced working environment is easier said than done. It is a change. And change brings with it some risks. In a situation where one believes the business is doing reasonably well, the incentive to change could be limited. Besides, investment in enhancing processing capability will normally get lower priority than investments that lead to revenue enhancement.

oWorkers is in a position to offer the benefits of its investments in technology to clients. It operates out of super secure facilities & protocols for the security of client data. It is ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified as well as GDPR compliant.

 

BPO suppliers aid the transition process

This is where leading Business process Outsourcing (BPO) companies come to the aid of organizations. Not only do they develop expertise in certain areas of business through repeated work for multiple clients, BPOs also often possess the supporting processing volume that justifies investment in processing technologies. Moreover, as it is a revenue generating investment for the BPO partner, it is an easier-to-justify investment. Of course, many companies also go it alone, especially the larger ones, who have the scale and access to investment dollars to make the move. The result that these companies often see is a streamlined process flow with lower manual dependence, the weeding out of inefficiencies, as well as better management of capital employed.

oWorkers has forged lasting partnerships with leading technology providers. These partnerships enable oWorkers to access the latest technologies and use them for delivery in client engagements.

 

Reinsurers exploring partnerships with BPO suppliers

Reinsurers are exploring partnerships with BPO providers who have developed skills and expertise in this area and also either already have access to cutting-edge technologies, or are planning to invest in them. These companies are seeing the release of significant advantages in the form of pricing, access to insights, dependable automated processing, better control over the flow of money and even better advisory services for related partners like brokers.

With access to an abundant, capable talent pool, oWorkers is well placed to support clients. Its efficient processes eventually manifest themselves in the superior pricing it is able to offer to clients. For example, as a preferred employer, oWorkers attracts a steady stream of interested jobseekers. This triggers savings in advertising to attract talent which, in turn, leads to better pricing.

 

Technology will drive growth

The reinsurance industry has been a known slow adopter of technology. And there may well be good reasons for that which are beyond the scope of this article. However, the pace of change does seem to be accelerating with companies either exploring the adoption of platforms or of a partnership with a BPO provider with expertise in the field. The future, whether we like it or not, is always uncertain. The right way forward for any business is to evaluate opportunities that lie ahead, including that of superior processing and technology implementation options, and take a view on the future value such an investment will create. Another tenet of business that is known to all is that this investment is not the end. Technology, and indeed business and industries themselves, will keep changing. Most educated opinions say the change will be faster and faster. It is a core responsibility of the leaders to help their company navigate its way through uncharted waters of the future.

Automation of reinsurance process is a work-in-progress

oWorkers’ support goes beyond technology and reaches every facet of work. Its hiring prowess makes available resources to clients at short notice, which they would otherwise have to retain and pay for throughout the year. Its reliance on employed staff, instead of contractual staff and freelancers, has enabled oWorkers to develop a strong supervisory layer that lends an edge to its delivery.

Many of their clients are technology companies, including unicorn marketplaces. Whatever be your nature of work, oWorkers will be able to add value.

What you need to know about Social Media Moderation

What you need to know about Social Media Moderation

Social Media is an integral part of modern-day life. In technical terms it could be described as a technology through which people can interact with each other with the help of a computing device like a laptop or mobile phone, which is connected to the internet. It is estimated that more than half the population of the world uses social media, of course some more than others.

Interactions happen over a platform that has been created for the purpose. While each platform may have its own unique features and positioning, their collective success can be seen in them being among the most well-known and frequently-used technologies today. Of course, apart from the fact that the founders of some of these platforms are among the richest people in the world.

The design of these platforms is meant to facilitate the free flow of information and ideas among participants, enabling access to the hidden corners of the platform to all comers. Of course, in the course of development, now there are facilities that enable interactions to be limited to defined sets of users, should that choice be made. Each platform operates on the basis of a set of rules and regulations that users have to sign up for.

The interactions that take place on these platforms are now referred to as User Generated Content (UGC); content that could be published (generated/ posted) by anyone using the platform, and not limited to a defined set of publishers as might have been the case in the publishing world of yore.

As one of the top three data services BPO providers in the world, with a leadership team that has over 20 years of hands-on experience, oWorkers has been active for over 7 years in providing a variety of back-office services, including social media related, enabling clients to focus on their core business.

 

The need for social media moderation

So, it’s great, right? People can connect with each other. They can share ideas and thoughts. Even pictures and videos, of a vacation, an event in the family, anything. People also claim that thanks to social media they have been able to connect back with friends and family members they had lost touch with many years back.

The openness and popularity of social media themselves have become challenges.

We know one rotten apple can spoil the whole basket. The social media basket consists of over 3.5 billion users. That is a lot of apples. Even at extremely low percentages, a few of these apples being bad, or turning bad from time, is always a possibility.

What does that mean?

It can result in content being published that not only violates the policies of the platform but also is unacceptable from a social, ethical, moral standpoint. All users on the platform are not mere consumers, they are publishers as well. These publishers, while they operate within the context of the society that we live in, and ought to abide by its guiding principles, can be in a frame of mind where they stop caring about consequences. They feel safe and powerful ensconced in their own dark corner of the internet from where they can unleash vitriol on the unsuspecting world.

Expressions of anger, hate, perversion can find expression in the form of content shared on social media. Think a video of child pornography. Think an audio of a speech from a religious fanatic urging followers to perpetrate violence on non-believers. Think gory images of physical violence and battery.

In the internet age, publishing is instant. You press the Save/ Upload button and your content can become available. Unless held back for a review.

This is where social media moderation comes into the picture in an effort to weed out such content and limit the damage such offensive content could do if permitted to remain available. It could be defined as the review and management of UGC that is being uploaded every second, in order to keep the platform clean and wholesome.

With the help of its mature relationships with technology companies, oWorkers is uniquely placed to leverage the latest as well as emerging technologies for the work they do for clients. As a GDPR compliant, ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified provider, oWorkers maintains the highest standards in data security, keeping client information secure.

 

Social Media for business

As with many good things, social media originated as a means of communicating between people. We have all heard of the stories about how the Facebook founder did the coding for the platform in his dorm in Harvard, initially meant as a tool for students to communicate with each other.

However, it is always difficult to foresee what the future holds.

The popularity of social media platforms is now a part of history. With more and more people joining social media platforms and using them extensively, businesses and organizations, initially on the sidelines, started salivating at the prospect of the opportunities they could visualize. Both in terms of being able to take their brand messages across as well as reaching large swathes of target consumers in a more economical and focused manner than permitted by traditional media.

Gradually social media has become an indispensable tool for companies. Social accounts are the virtual avatars of the brand. They engage fans, reach out to target prospective customers and, in general, build a community around the brand and the company that can keep doing the good work even while the employed people in the company are asleep. It is used to drive revenue generation (isn’t that the only goal of all businesses, apart from a profitable bottom line?), reach customers in a targeted, profiled way, and offer customer service. Since social media each transaction is based on clicking something, which gets recorded, it also becomes a useful tool to gather information about customers and trends.

With its usefulness now beyond doubt, in order to leverage the reach of social media, companies set up communities, groups and pages to create communities around their products and brands, through which they hope to spread the good word about themselves as well as reach out to many new customers. These communities have also become sources of information and feedback regarding the company from genuine, unbiased users.

And since it is a community they are creating, they need to take responsibility for ensuring that it stays within the defined rules and regulations of the community, as well as generally accepted social norms. This becomes the other use case for social media moderation.

If you are interested in buying a company’s product and looking for information, will you trust the company’s own information sources about its quality or feedback from users who have no personal interest in you buying that brand?

Genuine users, of course. Right?

This explains why social media platforms have become so critical to all businesses. They need to create thriving, participating communities around their brand.

Several unicorn marketplaces trust oWorkers in doing key activities for them. Many of them, especially the ones located in the US and Western Europe, have noted savings of almost 80% after outsourcing to oWorkers. They also appreciate the transparent options they get in pricing, between dollars per unit of input and dollars per unit of output.

 

Benefits of social media moderation for companies

How does it help?

Ensures correct information is available to customers and visitors

Today, it is now routine for customers, or prospective customers, to visit the social media avatars of companies to know more about them. They could be looking for a service center, or a number to call for some requirement. Moderation ensures that the information available to visitors is accurate. Some may consider it unethical, but instances of companies placing incorrect information on competitor websites is not unheard of. You don’t want to be the victim of such a scheme.

Influences buying decisions

This could be seen as an extension of the previous point. It is estimated that over half of all buyers seek feedback about their target product and company from their social media presence. As discussed elsewhere, a genuine, unbiased feedback is worth much more than a company’s own, motivated information packs and advertising. Revenue being the bloodstream of a commercial organization, this alone is reason enough for social media moderation.

Creates the right brand persona

A thriving, participative web property is the dream of all brands. If the community gets rocked by offensive posts and media from time to time, which is unacceptable to the main target population, it will put them off and reduce the web property to a dark, desolate piece of wasteland. The brnd need to prevent that from happening.

Prevents people from voting with their feet

Most participants have no stake in the failure or success of the company. They don’t get any money out of talking well of the product, or participating. They might do it for various reasons of their own, including earning bragging rights for using a certain product and genuinely trying to help others with their honest feedback. Besides, they generally have a device at hand through which a quick comment is always possible.

People can choose not to participate or leave at the slightest provocation. Prevent that from happening by ensuring social media moderation in your community.

Gets quick, objective analytics and feedback

Connected participants are a great free resource. They talk well of your products and even give you feedback when something goes wrong, say a spelling error in one of your latest promotion campaigns. You’d rather get the bad news from a person well disposed towards your company, than someone who is not, who will simply walk away. This valuable, free resource can be nurtured if you stay on top of what is happening in your community.

Whatever be your reason for initiating the activity, the 24/7 operation run by oWorkers ensures quick turnaround on transactions. It can also provide business continuity in case of a particular location not being accessible on account of a natural or man-made crisis.

 

You are not alone

Every activity and task adds up, consumes resources and takes away from the basic purpose of an enterprise.

Would you rather evaluate the risk in a new application for insurance or worry about how to moderate?

Would you rather design better semiconductor chips or worry about how to moderate?

Social media moderation is no different. In fact, it is considered as a particularly difficult task, as moderators are tasked with experiencing the darkest, most pernicious parts of what the web has to offer, and manage it so that others don’t get exposed and negatively impacted. In short, they face the bullets so that others can stay safe.

The job does not leave any physical scars that can be identified and treated. It works gradually on the psyche, leaving deep scars that might express themselves in unknown, unpredictable ways.

Companies like oWorkers who have been providing these services to clients across the world, have developed strategies to keep their employees safe while ensuring the work is not neglected.

Being preferred employers in their delivery locations gives them a choice of talent as they receive a continuous stream of walk-in candidates looking for jobs. Being engaged in multiple data-based services for different clients gives them the flexibility of staff rotation as well as the ability to hire a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ when the existing pair is reaching the limit of its capacity. In fact, the access to talent pools enables oWorkers to handle unexpected peaks in volume without breaking a sweat. This can be a huge advantage for clients as they don’t have to pay for keeping idle resources.

Companies are increasingly opting for outsourced services like those provided by oWorkers for ensuring the work is done efficiently while not exposing their own staff to jobs that they are not skilled for, apart from saving them from the exposure to the dark side of the web.

Additionally, oWorkers typically operates in less privileged communities. 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.