“How does one become a content moderator?” It’s the question that many bloggers, social media buffs, and many online journalists, writers, and editors are asking. The same is true of the decision-makers on the other side of the pond: the website and social media account owners who are in dire need of excellent and diligent professionals who can do the job. The answer to the question is important because demand for the job just might outstrip supply. One reason for that is, according to The Business Insider, not many stays on the job. Sometimes, it takes a year at the most before even the best ones quit and look for other work. There are almost always vacancies — even in the more popular giants like Facebook and YouTube.
On the surface, it seems to be a simple but in reality, it’s a time-consuming task. It is mainly concerned with viewing the dozens, if not hundreds, of posts or videos that are uploaded by the site’s many users every single day. He or she has to make judgment calls that the posts conform to the company’s guidelines which again almost always rule out or forbid posts that are incendiary, libelous, offensive, pornographic, graphically violent, and run contrary to the business interests of the site owners. If the content moderator is checking feedback and posts that are placed on a corporate site, then the job becomes easier because the number of said posts is easy to handle. Corporate sites that often promote a product or service usually do deal with a generally respectful online community. The worst that they have to handle are angry customer complaints that those who have experience in customer service can easily address.
Why the content moderator’s job can be tough
But the stakes — and the pressure — go higher when the moderation services have to do with sites that have the same following and scale of the giants like Facebook and YouTube. Social media monitoring can become an intensely stressful job. The content moderators who do 247 shifts, often as remote workers, have to watch every single post and video that comes online. If the site is generally seen as a user-friendly non-corporate site, then the content that comes down the pipeline can be wild, disturbing, and inflammatory. In an age that frowns on censorship, users want to be able to post their opinions, dreams, aspirations, and even their voices raised in anger and desire without inhibition. They don’t think twice about posting graphic images and videos on nudity, violence, bestiality, drug use, hate speech, and the like.
The role is to screen each and every one, and determine if they can be posted online or taken down. But again, this is not as simple as it sounds. Just ask any google content moderator. While there are certain images that are obviously offensive, and may, in fact, be criminal — like child pornography, for example — the content moderator must not be quick to take down a post or a video just because it seems to have crossed the line of decent communication. To fulfill the role means being able to understand the context of the message, and see how said post fits into it. He must be able to discern if the seemingly offensive post is trying to make a valid point that can spark discussion, and not just being sensationalistic.
The qualities needed to become a content moderator
Content moderation requires one to make a judgment call every time he reports to work and starts viewing each and every one of those thousands of videos and posts streaming on his newsfeed. But he cannot be simply reactive and delete or accept any on a knee-jerk basis. To be an effective one, the one manning the post must be able to defend his position — why he allowed a post to go online, or why he junked it to the trash bin. The users who made those posts will follow their movement, and management will ask to articulate the reasons for his decisions.
With all these in mind, how does one become a content moderator? First of all, he must have the grit and toughness to go through those thousands of posts demanding his attention. Second, he must have the smarts and the objectivity to analyze each post, figure out not just its conformity (or lack of it) to the given guidelines, but the value it can present the site’s community. Third, he must be able to understand how the audience thinks, and why they like or dislike certain posts.
A content moderator’s job is not easy to perform, that’s why it’s not easy to fill. However, we at HOPLA have access to these qualified content-loving professionals with sharp minds who can put your mind at ease as they safeguard and enhance your social media feeds. If you are looking to hire a content moderator, call us now.