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.