As the quantity and variety of user-generated content (UGC) increases, it becomes more challenging to ensure that the content is appropriate and follows community guidelines. Therefore, image content moderation has become a must-have tool for brands to maintain a safe and secure environment for their users and protect their brand reputation.  

According to recent research from the Consumer Technology Association, UGC now accounts for 39% of the time Americans spend consuming media every week, compared to 61% for traditional media. Because such a significant portion of media consumption comes from UGC, it is critical for online brands to prioritize image content moderation. This not only helps ensure appropriate content is shared by users, but it also helps build trust and credibility with customers. 

In this blog post, we will give you an in-depth understanding of image content moderation and its importance on building a strong online presence across various platforms.

What is image content moderation and why is it important? 

Image content moderation is the process of reviewing and monitoring images that are uploaded to websites or social media platforms to ensure that they are appropriate for the platform and its users. This can involve removing images that are offensive, violent, or contain explicit or illegal content. 

Online brands have a responsibility to ensure that the content on their platforms is safe and appropriate for their users. Image content moderation is an important part of this responsibility, as it helps to protect users from harmful or offensive content that could be inappropriate or even traumatic.

Here's an example to help illustrate the importance of image content moderation: 

Let's say that an online clothing retailer allows customers to upload images of themselves wearing the retailer's clothing to the website. Without image content moderation, it's possible that some customers might upload images that contain offensive or inappropriate content, such as explicit language or gestures. 

If the online retailer doesn't monitor or remove these types of images, it could harm the brand's reputation and create a negative experience for other users on the platform. Additionally, if a customer is offended by the content of an uploaded image and decides to share their negative experience on social media, it could create a public relations crisis for the retailer. 

However, by implementing image content moderation, the online retailer can ensure that only appropriate and positive images are shared on the website, creating a safe and inclusive space for all customers to share their experiences. This can help build trust in the brand and create a more positive overall experience for its customers.

What are the different types of inappropriate content that can be found in images? 

It's important to keep in mind that inappropriate content can be subjective and vary based on cultural and social norms, age, and other factors. But here are some of the most common inappropriate content that can be found in images online:

  • Nudity and sexual content: Images that contain explicit nudity, sexual acts or sexual innuendos. 
  • Violence and gore: Images that contain graphic violence, bloodshed or physical harm.
  • Hate speech and discrimination: Images that contain content that promotes hate speech or discrimination towards individuals or groups based on their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristics. 
  • Drug and alcohol use: Images that glorify or promote the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Harassment and bullying: Images that contain content that is intended to harass, bully or intimidate individuals or groups. 
  • Copyright infringement: Images that violate copyright laws by using protected materials without permission.

What are the tools and techniques used for image content moderation? 

Different third-party service providers that offer image content moderation services often use various combinations of tools and techniques, including but not limited to:

Image recognition algorithms

These algorithms use machine learning to identify certain features in images, such as nudity, violence, or hate speech. Some common image recognition software includes Amazon Rekognition, Google Cloud Vision, and Microsoft Azure Computer Vision. 

Human moderators

Human moderators review images to identify and flag inappropriate content. These moderators are trained to identify different types of content and can make more nuanced decisions than automated systems. 

Community moderation

Some third-party service providers rely on their users to report inappropriate content. This can be a powerful tool when used in conjunction with automated or human moderation. 

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP techniques are used to analyze text in images to detect and flag inappropriate language or keywords. For example, an image with a caption containing racial slurs can be flagged for review. 

Content policies and guidelines

Third-party service providers often have clear content moderation best practices that outline what is and isn't allowed on their platform. These policies can help moderators quickly identify and flag inappropriate content. 

User ratings and feedback

Some third-party service providers allow users to rate and provide feedback on content. This can help identify inappropriate content that might have been missed by automated or human moderation.

How do social media platforms and other websites use image content moderation? 

Social media platforms and other websites use image content moderation to prevent the sharing of harmful, offensive, and inappropriate images on their platforms. The process of performing image content moderation can vary between different websites and platforms, but generally involves the following steps: 

1. Image upload

The first step is for the user to upload an image to the platform. The image can be uploaded by selecting the file from the device or taking a photo with a camera. 

2. Image analysis

Once the image is uploaded, the platform's image analysis algorithm will scan the image for potential violations of the platform's community guidelines. This may include nudity, violence, hate speech, or other forms of inappropriate content. The algorithm will analyze the image based on various factors such as object recognition, text recognition, color analysis, and facial recognition. 

3. Flagging of inappropriate images

If the algorithm detects any potential violations, the image will be flagged for review by a human moderator. The image may also be automatically removed if it is deemed to be in violation of the platform's guidelines. 

4. Review by human moderators

If an image is flagged, it will be reviewed by a human moderator who will determine whether or not the image violates the platform's community guidelines. The social media content moderator will use their judgment to determine whether or not an image is appropriate for the platform, based on the platform's specific guidelines and policies. 

5. Removal or retention of images

If an image is found to be in violation of the platform's guidelines, it will be removed from the platform. If the image is found to be appropriate, it will be allowed to remain on the platform.

6. Appeals process

Users who believe that their images have been wrongfully removed can typically appeal the decision by contacting the platform's support team. The appeals process may involve a review by a higher-level moderator or an automated system that can re-evaluate the decision.

What are the benefits of image content moderation for online brands?

Having a robust image content moderation in place can provide numerous benefits for online brands. Some of these benefits include: 

Protecting brand reputation

Image content moderation helps online brands to protect their reputation by ensuring that their platforms are free from inappropriate, offensive, or harmful images. This can help to build trust with customers and stakeholders and maintain a positive brand image. 

Ensuring compliance with legal and ethical standards

Online brands have a responsibility to comply with legal and ethical standards, which may include regulations related to hate speech, pornography, violence, and other types of harmful content. Image content moderation can help to ensure that brands are meeting these standards.

Reducing risk of liability

By removing inappropriate or harmful images, online brands can reduce their risk of liability for any harm or damage that may result from the dissemination of such content. 

Enhancing user experience

Image content moderation can also help to enhance the user experience by ensuring that users are not exposed to offensive or harmful images while browsing the platform. This can help to increase user engagement and retention. 

Improving platform performance

Removing harmful or inappropriate images can also help to improve the performance of online platforms by reducing the likelihood of negative user interactions or system crashes caused by such content. 

Supporting advertiser and partner relationships

Advertisers and partners may be more likely to work with online brands that have strong image content moderation policies in place, as it demonstrates a commitment to creating a safe and positive environment for users.

Boost Content Moderation by Outsourcing Customer Care to the Philippines

Partner with ManilaPros for a comprehensive approach to your platform's content moderation. Our customer care services complement your efforts in monitoring and evaluating user-generated content, ensuring that your platform remains a safe and enjoyable space for all users.

At ManilaPros, we offer five-star customer care for retailers. We're a full-service outsourcing company that can provide you with vetted, trained, and certified customer support agents that are more than capable of providing top-notch customer experience.

Book a call with us today to learn more about our retail customer care services.