The Importance of Content Moderation and How It Protects Brand Integrity and Promotes Engagement

The importance of content moderation has increased in recent years. But there are important questions a brand needs to answer to effectively moderate content on its site, social media and elsewhere.

One person’s moderation is another person’s censorship, so where is the line between the two? Once upon a time, online communities were virtual free-for-alls where unfettered commentary reigned. An idea worth having was also worth posting, and others were free to chime in or challenge a post’s premise.

Much of the burden for regulating discussions fell on the participants, who relied on shared norms, general rules of civility, and a small set of rules to preserve order. That worked until it didn’t.

As the Internet grew, norms shifted, and comments regularly deviated from thoughtful insights and perceptive criticism to outright insults and personal attacks. This dynamic created a need for online traffic cops, or moderators, to police the tone of commentary and weed out anyone being abusive or offensive.

While the benefits of content moderation are seen as a net positive, there are also questions of whether it has become too much of a good thing. The goal of content moderation is to nurture an environment that promotes engagement rather than stifling it. This includes making room for spirited discussions and productive conflict.

Importance of Content Moderation in Managing the Landscape

A book on the rising influence of social media says that platform algorithms deliberately favor content that angers or inflames audiences, as that keeps them captive and interested. That is not, however, how the typical organization operates.

The business side of content ranges from the practical application of a company’s goods and services to information related to those products to getting user feedback. What the people who spend money with a company have to say about that company, its employees, and its product line is priceless feedback.

For brand-focused communities, the importance of moderation lies in preventing trolls from hijacking conversations and stopping spammers from littering the forum. As content becomes an increasingly vital part of an organization’s marketing mix, so does the importance of having an effective content moderation strategy.

There are several options to consider:

  1. Disallow all comments, which defeats the purpose of feedback,
  2. have an in-house dedicated team, and
  3. outsource to a third party.

In the case of the last two, moderation is more effective when handled by real people than by automation, though AI can be helpful in flagging comments that merit a closer look.

Rules for Effective Content Moderation

While encouraging community members to keep each other in line is an excellent strategy, it’s up to the organization to set the tone for what is permissible. This starts with the first rule of rules: they have to make sense.

Provide written guidelines that are easy to understand, coupled with an enforcement mechanism that handles violations and informs individuals why their comments were removed. In short, outline the importance of content moderation and the benefits that will accrue to participants.

Human nature dictates that you will get more of what you allow, so enforcement must be consistent. It does not take a heavy hand, just an active one that quickly responds when needed.

Second, context matters. We recommend having human moderators because AI is not nearly as attuned to sarcasm, colloquialisms, or cultural differences as people are. The lack of transparency (see the first rule of rules) can create confusion and make enforcement look arbitrary or disjointed, neither of which is conducive to ongoing engagement. The point is to develop a community where participants believe they are welcomed and their opinions and contributions matter. If a moderator is unsure, then privately contact the person for clarity about a comment.

Third, there is nothing inherently wrong with vigorous dialogue. So long as people are respectfully discussing a point and not attacking each other, both sides can learn something. This also adds value to the community; the larger it gets, the more likely people will see the same thing in different ways. That is neither right nor wrong in itself; if you have already established credibility in enforcing the rules, that should help prevent any interaction from going off the rails.

Content Moderation as a Business Strategy

Content ModerationThus far, we have discussed creating and maintaining an environment where people can comfortably participate, ask questions, or pose ideas. Not every community will see heavy traffic among its members, so a dedicated moderator may not be needed.

For instance, we used a hybrid approach with an online marketing client. Instead of a single person assigned to the task, tech support agents engaged directly with product users on the customer forum. This allowed for a mix of open discussion and customer service, a value-add for the client’s online community.

A track record of actively participating with customers without trying to sell them new things, plus providing solid answers to support questions, meant there was limited reason to police user comments. The forum’s use and popularity grew from consistency, managing consumer expectations, and agents interacting with customers just as they would in a phone call or chat, hearing any issues or complaints and then resolving them.

Don’t Overthink It

Creating content and building a community are worthy efforts, and the benefits of moderation stand alongside them. It may not be easy; making tough decisions and enforcing rules seldom is, but it is necessary for building online communities that are welcoming and engaging.

Participants will be grateful to know that rules exist, that enforcement is consistent and fair, and that people can freely post and respond without fear of harassment or attack. These results will also have a beneficial impact on your brand. The remaining question is how to go about doing it.

Content moderation can be done internally, outsourced to a third party, or use AI to complement the live moderator. The Internet provides every consumer with a voice. How people use that voice is another matter.

Ensuring that content aligns with organizational standards is in the interest of every brand and its patrons. Clarity of rules, consistency of their application, and recognizing the context of comments are the essential tools in creating the sort of community that people want to join.

About GlowTouch

As a tech-forward company, GlowTouch is dedicated to providing exceptional customer experiences by leveraging the right people, channels, locations, processes, and technologies. Our personalized omnichannel contact center, back-office processing, and technology outsourcing solutions are tailored to meet the unique needs of clients worldwide. As a certified WBENC Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and NMSDC Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), we take pride in our diverse workforce. Our commitment to operational excellence and high-touch engagement has earned us recognition from renowned organizations such as Everest Group, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), and six-time inclusion on the Inc. 5000 list. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, we have a global presence with onshore contact centers in Louisville, Miami, FL, and San Antonio, TX, a nearshore center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and offshore locations in Mangalore, Bangalore, Mysore, India, and Manila, Philippines. To learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals, visit, or email Tammy Weinstein at

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