The Pros and Cons of Automated Content Moderation on Social Media

pros and cons of automated content moderation
UPDATED January 25, 2024
Written By Milliscent Lucio

Suppose your social media platform has 10 users, and each user posts content twice daily. A single human content moderator can manage the total number of posts, right?

But what if there are 4.95 billion users? Then, you would need a veritable army of content moderators. This is difficult to maintain even for a very large company. Thus, the use of automated content moderation in social media.

What is content moderation in social media, and why is it even necessary?

Think about the sheer number of daily content posted on a major social media platform like Facebook. Not all of that is made with good intentions. Content moderators watch out for these malicious content and users, and take the appropriate action to ensure a safe online environment.

Thanks to the innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), new doors of opportunities have opened for content moderation. This has resulted in the development of automated content moderation.

One of the major benefits of automated content moderation is that it allows human content moderators to keep up with the large influx of content. These measures are necessary for large virtual social hubs like social media platforms, especially when minors are involved.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of utilizing automation in social media content moderation.

Pros of Automated Content Moderation

We’re in the golden age of content. People around the world can share their thoughts freely and frequently thanks to the internet’s accessibility. The resulting flood of content necessitates a swift but critical eye to maintain a safe social media platform.

Here are some of the ways automation aids a social media content moderator:

  • Able to Handle Large Content Volume
large content volume

As previously stated, over half of the world’s population uses social media. That’s a lot of content to sort through. The number of human content moderators you need to keep up will quickly burn through your time and budget.

The capabilities of AI in swiftly processing and analyzing vast amounts of data make it an ideal candidate for managing the extensive content generated on social media platforms. AI for content moderation operates tirelessly, ensuring continuous vigilance and timely response to emerging content-related challenges.

  • Consistency   

Humans have biases that can color their actions. It’s not something that can be turned on and off at one’s behest. Different backgrounds also lend to varying interpretations and understanding of topics, leading to inconsistency in enforcing rules and guidelines.

Automated systems have an advantage in that regard. It ensures a more standardized approach to content moderation, ensuring fairness. 

This standardized approach becomes particularly crucial in fostering an environment where users can trust that the rules are consistently applied, regardless of the unique characteristics or backgrounds of those involved in the moderation process.

  • Real-Time Monitoring 
clock and laptop

Information travels fast, especially in this digital age. A minute is enough to screenshot and spread an inappropriate post. This has been the downfall of several personalities and businesses. 

In addition, inappropriate content that is not taken down immediately may reach young and vulnerable users. 

AI systems swiftly detect and take down harmful posts, significantly reducing the window of vulnerability. The instantaneous response provided by AI content moderation becomes a proactive shield against the rapid dissemination of inappropriate content.

  • Initial Screening  

Content moderation is not an easy task. It involves deduction and attention to detail, which, over time, becomes exhausting. Not to mention the toll on the moderator’s mental health due to the exposure to potentially traumatic content.

Automated moderation alleviates the burden by taking care of simple cases, which usually take up the majority of content. That leaves the more complex cases for the human moderator to review.

Cons of Automated Content Moderation

As beneficial as it is, it is not recommended to just fully rely on AI social media moderation. It is not a perfect solution. 

Here are some of its current major disadvantages: 

  • Biased Datasets 
thumbs up and thumbs down

AI harbors no internal biases…or at least it shouldn’t have. However, that depends entirely on the datasets used in training the system. The quality and representativeness of these datasets play a pivotal role in shaping the AI's ability to navigate the complexities of the real world without perpetuating or amplifying existing biases.

A biased dataset affects the system’s impartiality, leading to discrimination of certain groups. The importance of a meticulous and unbiased dataset cannot be overstated, as it serves as the foundational building block for an AI system that aspires to be fair, inclusive, and devoid of discriminatory patterns.

  • False Positives and Negatives

A false positive is when content that is normally allowed is flagged as inappropriate. In contrast, a false negative is an inappropriate content that got past the moderation process.

This causes inconsistency in the process, potentially frustrating users.

  • Contextual Understanding
news reporters

There are a lot of nuances in communication, nuances that are not just contained in words. There is tone, intent, and context, among other factors, that flavor the language.

AI still does not have the capability to interpret the breadth of communication nuances, leading to misinterpretation and flagging.

For example, a news article about racism mentions a slur. The slur was used to inform and not used in a derogative way nor hurled at another user. Yet, the system flagged the article, and thus, was not posted. The writer then has to appeal to the moderators to overturn the decision, a process that takes time and decreases the freshness of the article.

  • Rigid Enforcement

On one hand, the AI’s consistency allows for a fairer moderation process. On the other hand, this doesn’t leave room for flexibility.

The use of language changes through time. What was accepted back then may not be accepted now, and vice versa.

This rigidity in the content moderation process can essentially limit freedom of expression in social media.

Balancing Act and Future Implications

Hybrid Content Moderation

Both human and automated content moderation have pros and cons. It only makes sense to combine the two methods to make up for each other’s vulnerabilities.

The AI can take charge of the pre-moderation process, lifting most of the burden from the moderators and satisfying users simultaneously. The more complex cases are then left for the human content moderators to pass judgment on. The overall combination of experiences, grasp of linguistic nuances, and knowledge aids in the decision-making process.

Reporting Mechanisms 

report button

Automated moderation is not a perfect solution. Some content may inevitably slip through the cracks.

Reporting mechanisms are important for these reasons. Not only does it allow moderators to catch wayward content, but it also gives the users a sense of responsibility to participate in enforcing the rules and guidelines.

Reporting mechanisms also help educate human moderators on what is and is not accepted in the online environment. This contributes to adjustments in the system, allowing the moderation process to keep up with the trends.

Continuous Improvement

Trends are fickle and ever-changing, especially in a large social hub like social media. Stagnancy is not an option for the content moderation process.

Moderators should always be updated with the latest technological trends to help upgrade the AI tools. Bad actors, after all, are getting trickier and trickier. Keeping up with the latest technologies counteracts these attacks on your social media platforms.

This improvement should also apply to human social media moderators. They should be trained and constantly up-to-date with the social media environment and global events, in general.

Legal and Ethical Implications

Besides the previously mentioned downsides of automated moderation, there are also legal and ethical implications to look out for. One of the primary concerns is data privacy.

Moderators or those in charge of moderation tool maintenance must not use private data to train the system. This is a serious breach of privacy and may lead to legal consequences. They should ensure ethically acquired datasets for the sake of data protection.

Another data privacy concern involves the use of outsourcing. While outsourcing social media moderation services enables a more efficient process, it also involves data sharing. This necessitates strict data protection measures and a foolproof contract with the service provider.

Onwards to the Future of Social Media Moderation

The advent of AI has ushered in a new era in content moderation. These AI-powered tools offer several advantages, one of the most significant being their ability to handle the astronomical volume of content generated on large social media platforms. 

Despite its numerous benefits, automated content moderation still has its faults. Recognizing these limitations, a synergistic approach emerges as the most effective strategy—the collaboration between AI-driven tools and human moderators.

Working in tandem with human moderators provides efficiency in processing vast amounts of data and flagging potentially problematic content for human review. 

As good as it sounds, some companies may be hard-pressed to build a social media content moderation team or get ahold of an automated content moderation tool. This endeavor requires a lot of resources, resources that may not be readily available.

If that’s the case, Chekkee is here to the rescue!

Chekkee offers a comprehensive approach that integrates real-time human and AI content moderation. This innovative service is designed to alleviate the burden on your company's resources, allowing your employees to concentrate on their core tasks without compromising on the critical need for content oversight.

Chekkee also ensures that your social media platform remains shielded from many online threats, ranging from fraud and identity theft to phishing attacks. This proactive defense mechanism safeguards the integrity of your social media platform, preserving your brand reputation and the trust and security of your user community.
Embrace the future of social media content moderation. Contact us!

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