What is Social Media Moderator and What Do They Do?

UPDATED May 17, 2024
Written By John Calongcagon

Understanding What is a Social Media Moderator and Its Importance

Imagine scrolling through your favorite social media platform and stumbling upon a fierce, lively debate. With users’ emotions running high, it is clear that the conversation can escalate into a heated argument. Luckily, before the interaction turns into a full-on flame war, social media moderators step in to manage the situation.

But what is a social media moderator?

Social media moderators are the gatekeepers of online communities. They ensure the safety and decency of social media platforms by filtering content, monitoring comments, responding to user inquiries, and resolving conflicts.

The responsibility of social media moderators extends beyond upholding online user safety. Social media moderation services are also crucial in maintaining online presence and brand reputation. They mirror the brand’s commitment to online safety and customer satisfaction

Responsibilities of a Social Media Moderator

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Now, what do social media moderators do?

The role of a moderator is indispensable in social media platforms.They oversee various aspects of online communities to ensure safety and engagement, including:

  • Content Moderation

The primary responsibility of a social media moderator is content moderation. Social media moderators meticulously review and evaluate user-generated content (UGC) based on predefined guidelines and criteria.

For example, moderators on social media giants like Facebook access content for adherence to community standards regarding hate speech, violence, nudity, and other sensitive topics. In 2023, Facebook reported it took action on more than 45 million instances of hate speech, signifying the large scale of online population where social media moderators operate.

  • User Engagement

Social media moderators are also responsible for actively engaging with users to promote a sense of community and belonging. They respond to comments, answer queries, and address concerns. Moreover, moderators facilitate discussions to encourage participation and interaction among community members. 

For instance, Reddit conducts "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions. These sessions increase user engagement by letting users engage in meaningful discussions and share content in a respectful and supportive environment.

  • Policy Enforcement

Social media moderators uphold community standards by enforcing platform policies. They monitor user behavior, identify violations, and take appropriate actions. Depending on the violations, they have the authority to issue warnings, remove offending content, or apply sanctions like suspension and banning.

Moderators also often consider key factors when enforcing policy. For instance, X (formerly Twitter) takes moderation actions after reviewing several factors, such as the target of behavior, the filer of the report, the user’s history of policy violation, and the severity of violation.

  • Crisis Management

Social media moderators serve as frontline responders in times of crisis, such as online conflicts, emergencies, or the spread of misinformation. They implement crisis communication strategies and provide accurate information to counteract misinformation and alleviate user concerns.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, social media platforms like Instagram implemented new features and updates to promote accurate information and combat the spread of misinformation. These features include adding stickers to promote accurate information and rolling out donation stickers to relevant nonprofits to make them easier to find. Moreover, Instagram removed COVID-19 accounts from recommendations, except for posts created by credible health organizations.

Social Media Moderation Tools and Technologies

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Social media moderation services may have a number of differences in terms of approach and technique, but technologies are their common ground. From one tool to another, here's how do social media companies moderate content:

  • Content Management Systems (CMS)

CMS platforms are tailored to fit social media moderation solutions. These systems provide comprehensive features that allow companies to review, edit, or remove UGC. They also allow efficient content organization and management by enabling moderators to categorize content, assign tags, and schedule posts.

  • Automated Moderation Tools

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has ensured more efficient social media moderation. AI-powered moderation employs AI tools, such as natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, to screen and flag potentially harmful or inappropriate UGC.

However, while automated tools can assist in handling large volumes of content, human review remains crucial in ensuring the accuracy of moderation outcomes.

  • Keyword Filters

Keyword filters automatically flag content containing specific words or phrases indicative of policy violations. These filters can target sensitive topics, profanities, or prohibited content categories. 

Social media moderators can customize the keyword filters to suit the unique needs and sensitivities of digital communities.

  • Image and Video Recognition Software

Using AI algorithms, image and video recognition software helps social media moderators screen visual content and identify potential community guidelines violations. These tools assist moderators in enforcing platform guidelines by detecting nudity, violence, or other inappropriate imagery. Image and recognition software may also incorporate sentiment analysis to assess the context and tone of visual content for more accurate moderation decisions.

Techniques for Effective Social Media Moderation

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Aside from using cutting-edge tools and technologies, social media moderators also use various techniques to ensure the safety of social media communities. These techniques include:

  • Proactive Monitoring

Moderators continuously monitor user activity and content submissions to identify and address issues proactively. They use real-time alerts and notifications to stay ahead of potential violations. This proactive approach to moderation allows social media moderators to intervene before issues escalate.

Moreover, proactive monitoring helps maintain a positive user experience and prevents the spread of harmful content within the community.

  • Clear Guidelines and Policies

Clear and detailed community guidelines and moderation policies can guide user behavior and ensure consistent enforcement. Moderators should regularly communicate these guidelines to users and provide examples of acceptable and unacceptable content or behavior. Clear policies help set expectations and reduce ambiguity. 

  • Consistent Enforcement

Moderators implement community guidelines consistently and fairly across all users. They use standardized procedures and enforcement criteria to assess violations objectively and take appropriate actions.

Consistent enforcement builds trust and credibility in the digital realm. It demonstrates the platform’s commitment to maintaining a safe and inclusive online environment.

  • Engagement and Education

Social media moderators actively engage with users. Aside from addressing concerns, moderators also educate users about community guidelines and acceptable behavior. In some instances, social media moderators may participate in community discussions, host Q&A sessions, and create educational resources promoting awareness and understanding of moderation policies. 

  • Continuous Training and Development

Moderators undergo regular training sessions to enhance their moderation skills and keep abreast of the latest social media trends. Continuous training and development keeps moderators on track with the current moderation techniques and practices.

Training programs may cover conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity, and mental health awareness to equip moderators with vital resources to handle the diverse moderation challenges.

Challenges Faced by Social Media Moderators

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To become a social media moderator is a crucial and complex task. Besides safeguarding the online world, one must be able to rise above the following challenges:

  • Dealing with Trolls

Moderators often contend with online trolls, who refer to users who deliberately post offensive and provocative content. Online trolls disrupt healthy interactions by hurting or attacking other users. The job of social media moderators is to curb online trolling, requiring patience and strict enforcement of community guidelines.

  • Addressing Hate Speech

Hate speech occurs when a user posts discriminatory or offensive content targeting individuals or groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Moderators must be adept at handling cultural sensitivities to combat hate speech while carefully balancing freedom of speech. Thus, addressing hate speech requires careful judgment and adherence to platform policies.

  • Managing Large Volumes of Content

Social media platforms generate a vast amount of UGC daily. Moderators must review various content formats, from text posts and images to videos and live streams, to ensure compliance with community standards. This process requires efficient workflows and scalable moderation solutions like AI moderation.

  • Coping with Psychological Issues

The nature of moderation work involves exposure to distressing content and high-pressure decision-making. Due to this, moderators are prone to burnout, compassion fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To address these, platforms must provide adequate support and resources for moderators to ensure their mental health and overall well-being.

Merits of Effective Social Media Moderation

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Effective social media moderation shapes a better online ecosystem, birthing to a myriad of benefits, including:

  • Enhanced User Experience

Effective social media moderation promotes safe and positive online space. With proper social media moderation, users can engage in meaningful interactions without fear of harassment, bullying, or exposure to harmful content. Moderators ensure that users feel valued, heard, and respected by enforcing community guidelines and addressing violations.

  • Improved Community Dynamics

Moderation encourages healthy discourse and constructive interactions among users. By setting clear expectations for behavior and content, moderators ensure that the online community develops a culture of respect, tolerance, and inclusivity.

Moreover, effective social media moderation encourages collaboration, empathy, and mutual support within the community.

  • Increased Platform Credibility

Effective moderation enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of social media platforms by preventing the spread of misinformation, hate speech, and other harmful content. A platform's moderation effort demonstrates its commitment to user safety and responsible content management, building trust with users, advertisers, and stakeholders. 

Social Media Moderation Solutions: A Key to Success

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Social media moderators are the unsung heroes of the internet. They work tirelessly behind screens to uphold online safety and foster healthy interactions. These efforts are evident in various social media platforms which underwent transformative journeys through content moderation.

Here are two success stories of robust social media moderation:

  • Facebook's Community Standards Enforcement

Facebook employs a team of moderators dedicated to enforcing its community standards and combating harmful content. The social media giant combines automated tools and human review to create a safer and more positive environment for its billions of users worldwide. 

Furthermore, Facebook's transparency center provides insights into its moderation efforts. It demonstrates the platform's commitment to accountability and user safety. Publicly disclosing data on content removals and enforcement actions helps Facebook build transparency and trust with its user base.

  • Reddit's Subreddit Moderation

Reddit relies on a community-driven moderation model. In this model, volunteer moderators oversee the individual subreddits and enforce the subreddit-specific rules. This decentralized approach allows moderation teams to tailor their strategies based on the needs and interests of each community. 

As a result, Reddit made a diverse ecosystem of communities where users can engage in meaningful discussions and share content in a respectful and supportive environment.

Social Media Moderation for a Safer and More Inclusive Online Community

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Social media moderators are crucial in shaping the online landscape. They combine human expertise with advanced technologies to ensure a safe, welcoming, and inclusive online environment. Besides this, moderators also navigate a delicate balance between enforcing platform policies and promoting meaningful interactions among users.

In general, social media moderation creates vibrant and thriving digital communities by implementing robust and compelling moderation techniques. While businesses can always build an in-house team, many prefer to outsource moderation solutions from a reputable company.

If you’re looking for a reliable partner, Chekkee is here to help. We offer effective social media moderation solutions that safeguard your brand from trolls, scammers, and other malicious online users. Chekkee harnesses the power of human and AI moderation to guarantee safe web pages and communities.

Keep your platforms squeaky clean. Contact us today!

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