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What is Content Moderation? Content Moderation Basics, Types, and Best Practices

what is content moderation

Every day, we are exposed to various types of content with different purposes. Some are made to inform and sell products and services, while others are created to entertain. Regardless of the purpose, all content types should be properly monitored and managed to make sure that every piece of content that target audiences will receive is by societal laws and ethics. 

For companies that profit from using online content, moderation is necessary. It is best for companies to filter every problematic content which is created to bash, discriminate, or threaten a particular group of people, race, religion, etc. Social media platforms give way to the rise of various types of content that can be both beneficial and detrimental to a company’s online reputation and digital footprint. 

This is why business owners and social media companies invest in hiring competent and experienced content moderation teams to effectively control and manage the things that clients and other stakeholders can see and interact with online. Content moderation has an undeniable impact on customer security, most especially in online communities. When customers feel secure, the buying and service experience is positive.

What is Content Moderation?

Content moderation is the process of reviewing and monitoring user-generated content on online platforms to ensure that it meets certain standards and guidelines. It involves setting rules and guidelines that all content appearing on the site must abide by and filtering out anything that’s deemed harmful, sensitive, or inappropriate. Content moderators will review submissions and decide whether a particular submission can be used or not on that platform based on predefined criteria. Content moderation is important to keep platforms safe and upholds the brand’s trust and safety program. It is commonly used on websites such as forums, social media platforms, dating sites, and online marketplaces.

Businesses may choose to hire content moderation teams, outsource content moderation services from external providers, or install content moderation software.

Why is Content Moderation Important?

Content moderation is important to protect a company’s branding and reputation against trolls who publish and spread inappropriate content using online platforms with the purpose of harming existing and potential consumers and users, defaming a business’ name, destroying a company’s image, and creating a hostile environment between individuals and firms.

When offensive content plagues a company’s website or social media page, it could create an impression of unethical practices and a lack of effort to keep a happy and secure online community for individuals interested in their products and services. Such an impression of indifference might affect user experience and cause prospective clients to stop supporting a certain company.

Which Types of Content Should be Moderated?

There are several types of online content that can make or break a company’s branding, but the most common are the following:

Text Moderation


Content moderators detect, analyze, and filter user-generated posts and comments on social media pages and online communities to make sure that toxic content made by offensive language (anything that promotes racism, online threats, violence, sexual harassment, or self-harm) will be removed and invisible to members and future website visitors.

image moderation


90% of information that we perceive and get transmitted to our brains is VISUAL. Posting quality images on websites has its purpose. The goal is to stimulate and trigger the senses of potential customers and make products and services appear more attractive and exciting to purchase.

Website designers and developers take extra efforts to post the most proper images, but when some users or trolls misbehave, sensitive content that goes against the community standards can be posted under comment sections, discussion, and review threads. Unwanted images may feature nudity, violence, and self-harm.

Video Moderation


Just like images, videos are made and uploaded to give websites and page visitors a perfect visual experience. However, without effective moderation, illegal content may affect the overall image of a company reflected on its website. Using human solutions and tools, moderators filter all racy content that can be linked to pornography and voyeurism, sexual assault, and nudity. Such type of content can make users feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

Audio Moderation


Audio content is the fastest-growing form of internet-based media, with over one billion hours spent listening to music on YouTube alone. In a world where audio content has become ubiquitous and where content creators often don’t have the resources to moderate their own audio, it’s up to third-party content moderation companies like Digital Minds BPO to make sure that audio content is safe and legal.

Audio content presents a unique set of challenges for moderators, often requiring a high degree of specialization. For example, content moderators must be able to tell whether the audio has been manipulated or not and if it has copyrighted material.

What are the Types of Content Moderation?

Content moderation has five (5) types, and it is very easy to understand each type’s purpose.


Pre-moderation is a type of content moderation that involves the review of user-generated content (UGC) before it is allowed to go live on a website or app. It is intended to ensure that any harmful content is not exposed to the online community, safeguarding the brand against legal ramifications in the process. This type of moderation involves screening text, images, videos, and other content for any inappropriate or offensive content that may be damaging to the brand before it can be viewable.

This type of moderation does not offer real-time posting since the content must be reviewed first before it can go live, which can frustrate some users who are accustomed to seeing their posts instantly. To address this, some companies are using AI-based pre-moderation which can reject any content with a high probability of containing harmful content, while allowing anything with a low probability to post immediately.

Post – moderation

Post-moderation is a type of content moderation that allows content to be published immediately and reviewed afterward. This approach is used to give users the gratification of immediacy, as they can see their posts go live as soon as they are submitted. While this method allows for a faster user experience, it is more prone to offensive content making its way through the system than other forms of moderation.

This type of moderation is often used by dating apps, some social sites, and other social media platforms as users demand instant posting. However, this comes with significant risk as companies are left playing catch-up as they attempt to take down offensive posts before it upsets users.


Reactive moderation is a type of moderation where users are allowed to flag content that they find inappropriate or that goes against the platform’s rules. It is often used as an additional layer of protection in conjunction with pre- and post-moderation to catch any untoward content that slipped through the cracks.

This type of moderation is more cost-effective compared to other types, as it only requires human efforts to address severe incidents. However, it can be inefficient and offers the platform little control over the content on the site. Additionally, there is a risk of inappropriate content remaining online for too long and doing long-term reputational damage to the brand.


In distributed moderation, moderators and users adopt a rating system in determining whether a user’s content is acceptable. Popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are known to rate user-generated content based on its viral impact, the severity of harm, and the likelihood of violation. Cyberbullying, stalking, and online threats are the most common offenses reported on social networking sites.


AI is able to quickly detect and reject overtly objectionable content, such as hate symbols or offensive gestures, before it can go live. This is done using algorithms that analyze text and visuals and can spot conversational patterns and relationship analysis. Gone are those days when page and site managers manually go into user posts to check and guarantee safe and friendly interactions among users and subscribers. AI-controlled algorithms are capable of creating search filters and detecting suspicious activities.

However, the accuracy of AI is still limited, and it may fail to catch everything that it is programmed to or incorrectly flag harmless content. As such, a hybrid approach that combines both AI and human review is often necessary to effectively monitor user-generated content.

Human moderators are better able to interpret context and make subjective decisions, and can also utilize user reporting to stay alert to inappropriate content. Additionally, human moderators can provide greater transparency and democracy to the moderation process, while AI can improve over time with the use of moderate data.

Best Practices for Content Moderation

1. Create Guidelines and Policies

Creating guidelines and policies for content moderation can help ensure a safe online environment for everyone. By setting clear rules and expectations regarding what content is acceptable and unacceptable as well as outlining potential consequences for violations, companies can create a more positive atmosphere. Additionally, providing rewards for positive contributions and responding to negative comments appropriately can help maintain transparency and show that a company is willing to help its customers. Finally, it is important to take into consideration all types of content, including text, images, videos, and live chats, when creating guidelines.

2. Invest in Moderation Tools

Investing in moderation tools can help with content moderation by providing automated scanning of user-generated content and the ability to automatically remove or flag content that violates the community rules and guidelines. The tools also come with varying levels of moderation, sentiment analysis, and built-in features that can detect inappropriate words, hashtags, and handles. Additionally, moderation tools can help identify and delete content such as trolling, spamming, flaming, or hate speech, as well as help protect vulnerable users from viewing inappropriate content.

3. Have a Team to Manage Moderation Efforts

It is essential to have a content moderation team in place to review postings, as this will help to protect the business’s reputation and encourage a positive user experience. Additionally, a dedicated team of content moderators can be trained to act as brand advocates, helping to ensure a positive brand image.

Furthermore, partnering with a vendor who can provide a dedicated team of content moderators can help to ensure that user-generated content is scanned for appropriateness and relevance to the brand and customers.

4. Train Moderators to Recognize Offensive Content

Educate Moderators: Train your moderators in these guidelines and the types of posts that need to be removed. Emphasize the importance of being able to recognize offensive content and the impact it can have on the platform.

Provide Resources: Provide moderators with resources to help them identify offensive content. This could include a list of keywords that could be used to identify potentially offensive posts, as well as other tools such as photo recognition software.

Monitor Moderators: Monitor moderators to ensure they are properly following the guidelines and removing offensive content when necessary. Ensure to provide feedback and coaching to help them improve their abilities and recognize offensive content more quickly.

Provide Support: Provide support for your moderators to ensure that they are able to do their job properly and feel supported in their roles. Make sure to provide them with the resources and support they need to do their job effectively.

5. Use Filters to Identify and Remove Automatically

One example of automatically removing content is the use of keyword or RegEx (Regular Expression) filters, which block words or expressions that are related to banned behaviors. This is a great way to catch unwanted content quickly and efficiently, as the AI does not have to interpret context.

Age restrictions are another example of automatically removing content, where only users of a certain age can view certain types of content. This can be a great way to protect younger users from seeing inappropriate content.

Language filters are also used to automatically remove content. This involves translating user-generated content into the desired language to make it easier for non-native English speakers to understand.

Nudity and violence filters are used to keep user-generated content family-friendly. This can be done by automatically censoring any inappropriate text or images that users have uploaded to the site. Google SafeSearch is a great example of this. This involves automatically censoring any explicit content that users search for on the internet.

Hate speech filters are also used to keep user-generated content appropriate. These filters automatically remove hate speech from a website or online forum to make the internet a safer and more civil place for everyone.

How Do Content Moderation Companies Work?

Content moderation companies are businesses that help to keep online communities and platforms clean by removing the inappropriate or objectionable content. These companies use a variety of methods to find and remove unwanted content, including human moderators who review posts and flag anything that violates the community guidelines. Also, to manually moderate content, some content moderation companies also use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to automatically detect and remove offensive material.

This can be a vital service for businesses, as it helps them protect their reputation and avoid any legal issues that could arise from offensive or defamatory material being published about them online. Content moderation companies can also help businesses keep track of the latest trends in online chatter, which can be useful for marketing purposes.

These companies use a mix of technology and human review to check and remove content that violates guidelines.

Content moderation companies use a mix of technology and human review to check and remove content that violates content guidelines. These companies typically work with social media platforms and other online publishers to help them keep their user-generated content (UGC) within acceptable bounds.

While automated systems can do a lot to flag potentially offensive content, and disturbing posts, humans are still needed to make the final call on whether something should be removed. This is because automated systems can often make mistakes, and also because some decisions need human judgment. For example, a picture of a person in a bikini might be flagged as offensive by an automated system, but a human moderator would likely decide that it’s not actually violating any rules. This is a common case in social media posts, when certain content is flagged and restricted, despite being “normal” and “harmless”.

Content moderation process is an important part of keeping social media platforms and other online spaces safe and welcoming for all users. By using both technology and human review, these companies help in making sure that only the right content is published.

Content moderation is important for social media platforms, e-commerce sites, and other online businesses.

The goal of these companies is to create a safe and welcoming environment for all users by keeping harmful or offensive content from being published. This helps to create a positive user experience and prevent people from being exposed to potentially harmful or upsetting material. Additionally, by moderating content, businesses can avoid violating any laws or regulations related to online speech.

How big is the content moderation industry?

The industry is enjoying tremendous growth, thanks to social media giants continuously revising and updating community guidelines which need direct hiring or outsourcing of services and adopting more advanced content moderation solutions to give perfect online experiences to current users as well as prospective subscribers. MarketWatch predicted a $13.60 billion market value for the digital content moderation industry by 2027.


Facebook currently has more than 15,000 content moderators. YouTube has 10,000, and Twitter has 1,500. Most of Facebook’s content moderation services are sourced from third-party providers.

Moderation strategy is crucial. A good content moderator should have a keen eye for detecting and analyzing user-generated content published to malign a business reputation, negatively affect customer interest, and discourage potential partnerships.

Moreover, they should also be familiar with the latest technological advancements to adjust content moderation processes in line with ethical and professional considerations mandated by laws and policies. Check out the Top 10 Best Content Moderation Companies in the World. 

Is outsourcing content moderation services worth it?

Definitely. Outsourcing content moderation services can help you save time and focus on the major operations of your business. There are several BPO companies offering content moderation services at affordable rates, focusing on major platforms and content types including social media posts, forums & communities, dating sites, images & videos, etc.

Make sure to choose a provider with proven experience in content moderation to keep you at ease in taking care of your business branding and reputation.

What are the things that you should consider when choosing a content moderation company?

Content Security

Moderating content with many types of content might accidentally leak important private data of both parties, so you need to focus on data security in your search for a good content moderation company. Make sure that they also have detailed security protocols and a well-written non-disclosure agreement for mutual protection.

Content Moderation Policies

Work with a company that has a similar view of what’s acceptable and not in online content. While content moderation policies may vary depending on the culture and beliefs of business owners, there are policies that might appear too demanding or too liberating for some. In this case, content moderation policies and terms must be discussed to come up with an agreement that’s fair for the business, the provider, and the users.

Skills and Knowledge

Content moderators must be physically and mentally prepared to handle high content volumes, most especially during peak seasons, where customer demands are also high, and the presence of trolls can be difficult to eradicate.

Choose a service provider that hires skilled moderators who can work for quantity and quality and are capable of using content moderation tools to maximize time and resources. While not required, getting in touch with professionals knowledgeable in deep learning technology is an extra ace for you.


Aside from the skills and knowledge requirements, you must also select a provider that has close access to the latest technology to handle thousands and millions of user-generated content. Human moderation is effective, but with the increasing number of content to be monitored and analyzed, the experience could be overwhelming for human moderators. A service provider that adopts the latest AI software can give you a bigger advantage against your competitors.

Workplace Quality

Check reviews not just from clients but from former employees. The kind of environment affects the level of service that employees can offer to clients. Simply put, you need to make sure that the content moderators are treated ethically, receive the right amount of compensation, and are acknowledged and recognized when they do well. Remember that these employees are the ones to be monitoring and filtering content in your business platforms, so having happy employees can also help your business.

It’s good if the service provider can present an actual program or system that they adapt to take care of the moderators’ physical, mental, and psychological health. Contents posted online aren’t just rude or offensive but can be downright traumatizing, and constant exposure can pose several mental health risks, so it’s important that you take note of this.


Knowing the price that you’ve to pay to protect your branding is important. Choose a service provider that offers cost-effective pricing that can help you cut costs without compromising the quality of output. Stick to pricing plans that are focused on the types of content that need to be moderated and always note that the add-on services have extra costs as well.


Moderating every type of content is essential to maintaining a company’s good reputation. Business owners should be mindful of the impact that social media posts and comments could bring on customer relations. To cut costs and the hassle brought by the tedious hiring and training procedures, consider outsourcing your content moderation services. 

In this age of information, content is king. It can make or break your valuable relationships with clients and partners. Giving customers a phenomenal customer experience with a safe and secure space to share their thoughts and opinions, without being discriminated against or judged. 

Contact Digital Minds for the best content moderation services at affordable rates. Request a quote now. We are excited to build your dreams!


Contact us today to learn more about our content moderation services.

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