Guide On How To Outsource Content Moderation
Let us pick out a few headline items constituting user generated content (UGC):
- 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube
- 347222 stories are posted by Instagram users
- 147000 photos are uploaded on Facebook
- 41,666,667 messages are shared by WhatsApp users
- 69444 jobs are applied by LinkedIn users
This was published in August 2020.
There are thousands of other popular platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Viber, Tumblr, eToro, Goodreads, Snapchat, again with huge amounts of content being produced and consumed by users, by anyone who signs up.
Also, there are 1.2 billion websites (1,196,298,727 to be exact according to Netcraft’s September 2020 data), some of which also permit, and even encourage, what is referred to as user generated content (UGC), for business and brand engagement, or in the hope of making their platform the next Facebook or Youtube. Every industry and business has a digital presence. There are online applications for Credit Cards, online stores for buying clothing items and online appointments with doctors. Each time we make an input into an Internet application, we create content.
What is Content Moderation?
Civil society has rules and regulations and, beyond that, some generally accepted guidelines of behavior and social norms. We also know that it takes all sorts to make the world. With over 4 billion Internet users, more than half the global population, who can say what nature of content might be posted by one of them.
This is what creates the need for content moderation and content moderation solutions.
While a debate has been going on regarding ownership of content on these platforms, and whose responsibility it is, platforms have stepped in and created processes and systems through which content moderation is carried out. Rough estimates put the number of human content moderators around the world at over 100,000, apart from the tools and AI engines deployed for the purpose.
The human moderators review text, read comments, eyeball images, view videos in an effort to make the web a wholesome place. The increasingly diverse nature of applications available on the internet and the variety of content being created is making content moderation an increasingly challenging activity. Apart from the psychological scars it leaves on people who need to go through raw content for moderating it.
At an individual business and website level too, the intent is to create wholesome content that will attract the right audience who will create content appropriate for that space. Hence, not just the large public platforms, but individual websites also make an effort to moderate the content that gets created on their website or even on their pages on the popular social sites.
Should you outsource content moderation?
For the moment the debate is pretty much settled, with outsourcing being the preferred option for many websites and platforms that need it though there are dissenting voices advocating for platform owners to do it themselves.
There are many reasons for it:
- You don’t have the expertise of the resources. Content moderation is nothing like your business; whether you sell Credit Cards, or run an eCommerce store. It requires specialised skills.
- While you may have guidelines for moderation of your online presence, the overarching guidelines are those of civil society and acceptable behavior which is common to all businesses. Hence, you are able to dive into a deeper pool of talent that provides content moderation solutions.
- It keeps your employees focussed on your business, where their expertise lies. Really no point in taking them away from a job they can do well and put them onto a job they know nothing about.
- As it does not require advanced educational qualifications and extensive experience of work, outsourced resources are available for a fraction of the cost you might be paying to your employees.
Choosing a Provider for Content Moderation Solutions
Let us look at how you should go about the task of identifying a suitable provider when you outsource content moderation, and the parameters you should include in the evaluation exercise.
Listed against each parameter are a set of capabilities, in bullet form, that you should enquire about and an interested vendor should be able to demonstrate to enhance their credentials for being selected for content moderation services that you seek.
Familiarity with work and demonstration of quality
- Familiarity with type or work needed by showcasing similar work done for other clients; this also demonstrates how well they have understood your requirement.
- If not familiar, offers compensating benefits, like lower pricing.
- Willing to connect you to existing clients who will support vendor’s capability claims.
Having delivered content moderation services to several clients over eight years of operation, for oWorkers the sign of success is the continued expansion of client relationships and the additional projects entrusted by them. With their agreement to display client names on our website, our list of referenceable clients runs long.
Attrition and People Management practices
- Follows contemporary People Management practices that are fair and transparent.
- Incorporation of work from home related practices.
- Presents data on attrition which should be lower than other comparable vendors, else there should be logical reasons.
- Permits unsupervised interaction with a set of frontline workers.
oWorkers has chosen to work with employees on our rolls, and not freelancers and consultants on short contracts. While this impacts on our attrition numbers as we may appear to have a larger headcount, we believe it works well for us in the long run, as we are able to build long-term relationships with our staff and give them progress. Despite our strategic choice, our attrition numbers are best in class. Our employees consistently rate us 4.6 or more on Glassdoor, on a scale of 5.
Preparedness for virtual workforce
- People Management policies and work contracts permit employees to work from home when required.
- Hiring can be done remotely.
- Virtual onboarding and training capability.
- Technology deployed enables a distributed workforce to seamlessly login and operate and communicate.
- Supervisors trained on handling a virtual workforce.
- Quality team has tools through which monitoring and coaching can be carried out.
Ever since the world went into a lockdown because of the pandemic, oWorkers has been quick off the blocks in creating infrastructure that enable us to continue seamless operations whether we operate from the workplace or from home or from anywhere in the world. You get this advantage when you outsource content moderation to us. Not just delivery, but each of our support functions like Hiring, Training, Quality and Workforce Planning have been included in the process of establishing tools with the result that today these units continue to operate and support delivery, anywhere to anywhere.
Workforce Planning and Management
- Has a team that keeps track of requirement of resources for each project at any point of time and actual availability.
- This team also has the ability to normalise available headcount to reach target numbers, especially when there is a shortfall.
- Can demonstrate examples of mobilising and removing resources quickly to meet resource requirements.
- Distributed workforce is able to log onto a common platform for tracking and visibility as well as communication.
When you outsource content moderation to oWorkers, with our technology infrastructure, we are able to provide flexibility to staff to work either from home or office in a seamless manner, the choice being the employee’s. The communication tools deployed on the internet bring everyone together.
Internal Quality process
- Has an Internal Quality team that is independent of the delivery unit.
- The team can access transactions and agents in a virtual (work from home) setting as well as in a physical workspace and interact with them for monitoring and coaching.
- Performance scorecards of this team are also linked to business performance but independent of the delivery unit.
- Ability to demonstrate interaction between the Internal Quality team and senior management and examples of actions taken based on their recommendations
Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) processes are a part of the DNA at oWorkers and deployed by default when you outsource content moderation to us.. This process enables our senior management to stay informed about developments and performance of each of our engagements and also keeps the delivery team on its toes. Our Quality team will represent you internally and ensure that the work that reaches you is near perfect. 98% accuracy levels is what this team has helped us deliver consistently.
- Price offered is competitive.
- All aspects of content moderation services required have been covered in the commercial proposal.
- If the price offered is lower than benchmark, explanation of reasons as well as comfort that it is sustainable.
- If the price offered is higher than benchmark, explanation of the additional value they offer.
oWorkers’ growing relationships are a testimony to the value we add to our clients. Being the cheapest provider is not our goal, but being the most valuable provider is. With our pricing options for clients, of choosing between dollars per unit of time and dollars per unit of output, cinets can choose what works best for them.
Support for Multilingual delivery
- Experience with the languages that are our immediate requirement for content moderation services.
- Experience with languages that might be our next set of requirements.
- Overall languages covered.
- Ability to add a language outside the list, if required.
oWorkers supports over 22 languages from its three global centers in the heart of the BPO world. Our network of partners also provides us the flexibility of offering additional languages, should there be a need beyond our current coverage.
- Tools and technologies used for the work on offer.
- Ability to access and learn other tools that may be required.
- Ability to secure the data that they will be working on, including storage and transmission.
- Physical access control and monitoring of facilities.
Though we offer the most current technologies required for content moderation solutions, we retain the nimbleness and openness to acquire and train our staff on additional tools mandated by our clients. Only if it works for you will it work for us. Of course, having some of the unicorn marketplaces of the world as clients does help in ensuring our technology is current.
oWorkers is ISO (27001 and 9001) certified and GDPR compliant. Our security protocols extend to the staff who work from home. We also offer physical segregation of work areas, if required.
Scalability and access to human resources
- Level of scalability offered for hiring resources.
- Access to a pool of short-term workers.
- Ability and capacity to train at short notice.
When you outsource content moderation, as a result of seasonality and other factors, volumes can fluctuate. While providers may want to suggest hiring resources to handle the peak volumes, for a client it will mean extra cost during periods when volumes are low. Hence, our ability to scale up and down by 100 resources in 48 hours is a key differentiator.
We are able to do this because of the deep connections we have with our local communities where we are active contributors. Being a desirable place of work for many gives oWorkers the edge during quick ramps as well as lowers our cost of attracting talent throughout the year.
- Financials of the company for the last three years demonstrating stability and profitability.
- Projections for the next three years, if available.
oWorkers operates as a locally registered company in each of the three current locations it works out of. It is deeply rooted in the communities it operates in, pays local and social taxes and works with hired staff and not freelancers.
oWorkers has chosen its playing area as data entry, annotation and moderation services and is counted as a leader in the space. It has been ranked as one of the top three data entry companies in the world. With over 20 years of hands-on experience, our senior leadership is involved in the day-to-day operations, client interactions and giving guidance to delivery teams. We operate from three global centers and provide overnight delivery to many clients, either from one of our three global centers, or with our 24×7 operational machinery. When you outsource content moderation to oWorkers you get a built-in business contingency with our three global centers acting as back-ups for each other. Our clients save upto 80% of their pre-outsourcing cost when they work with us. We hope you will, too.