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What do you do after clicking a beautiful snap of your favorite food, or favorite place, or your face? Obviously! You share it over social media or other digital platforms. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and enhanced experience of digital media encourages image-sharing options.

It poses a threat to these platforms as people may post explicit images there. Therefore, image moderation comes into this picture that helps the ML (Machine Learning) models of these platforms in filtering images.

At present, social media or any other platform uses photo moderation to keep explicit content away. The developers of AI tools across the globe choose to outsource image moderation process. This helps them to train their models to block unsolicited pictures floating in their application.

This blog will explore more into discussing image moderation services and how they work in detail.

Let’s start this journey by grabbing some knowledge of the moderation process.

1. What is Image Moderation

The user-generated content (UGC) or the content users post in the form of images is typically moderated by the ML Models. From social media platforms to marketing e-commerce sites, this system works everywhere. The main focus of this task is to keep the platform safe for all by eliminating explicit content from it.

If a company or developer hires an image moderation solutions provider then the task of that moderator is to eliminate all bad pictures. Do you know that quote that depicts a picture says a thousand words? Well, the same quote is applicable in the sphere of the Internet also. People share a lot of unsolicited pictures over the internet without any thinking. These pictures usually trigger people and later on create bad incidents.

However, deploying an image moderation team helps to eliminate all these types of images and make the platform safe for all. The team will detect what pictures would suit the platform and what not. Based on the platform’s suitability, the team will eliminate bad pictures. Businesses across the globe apply moderation to make their brand name intact in the digital medium.

2. Why Moderation is Needed for Brands?

The Internet is a free space where people can share their thoughts, isn’t it? So why these image moderation techniques are there? Well, people can use the internet but for a good purpose, sharing bad pictures is not a good purpose. The brand value of businesses would diminish when an unfiltered photo floated in the review section. That’s why moderation is necessary and here are the reasons that come into this picture.

First, brands target minors also to sell products like gaming applications, garments, etc. Therefore, they have to ensure that their website is minor-friendly as these people will come there and explore. With the method of moderation, brands make their website children-friendly.

Second, brands heavily rely on pictures and stress their customers to share pictures with them. Therefore, without any image moderation, the platform can turn into anything and brands do not want that.

Third, brands keep their feedback channel open to accept people’s option about them. Without any filter, people can send anything to them and it would hurt the brand image. Hence, moderation is needed even if it is implied in the feedback channel.

Fourth, brands outsource image moderation companies to keep checking their comment sections on their website. These companies implement the best ML models to eliminate offensive images from the comment sections.

Protecting a brand from online threats in terms of posting offensive images is not that easy. A proper photo moderation approach must be there that will provide the brand protection. Maintaining the reputation of the brand is necessary and moderation helps in doing so. A dedicated photo moderation approach will monitor all graphic content posted on the website accurately.

3. Guideline for Image Moderation

Suppose you have been provided with a paper where the word “Phoenix” is written. On the other side of that paper, an image of the phoenix bird is given. Now what would you remember easily? Obviously! The image. Therefore, photo moderation is necessary as it can influence people’s minds. An outsource image moderation company will follow a simple but effective guideline to moderate graphic content.

3.1 Context

The first step of photo moderation begins with context analysis or assessment of the context of the picture. The moderator will assess the fitness of the image and whether it should go with the context or not. This process is done after a thorough understanding of the theme and features of the website. The moderator assesses the image by checking the caption, metadata, and the source where the image is taken.

3.2 Format

Having a clear understanding of the image format is essential as a photo moderator. Sometimes people post images in gif format in the comment section, which can be challenging to moderate. Hiring an image moderation solutions provider will help you yo moderate pictures in all formats. These moderators apply maximum standards in image uploading to prevent all these practices.

3.3. Originality

The creation of photos through capturing, editing, or manipulation is part of intellectual property rights. Processing the moderation task through the image moderation technique must maintain copyrights. Moderation of images is also used in the protection of intellectual rights so the original work can be preserved.

Companies that outsource image moderation work stress following these aspects while doing the moderation work. Following the guidelines will make the ML model smart enough to detect offensive images or images that violate the laws. This will strengthen the AI system and empower software to detect offensive images faster.

4. Manual vs. Automated Photo Moderation

You guessed it right! In the human image moderation process images are checked manually one after another. The process consumes a lot of time and the moderator needs an expert level of knowledge to perform these tasks. Although the process will contain a small degree of human errors in moderating graphics of violence or nudity. Hence, human moderators need proper training before performing photo moderation tasks.

On the other side, automated image moderation services are designed on the Application Performance Indicator (API). Auto-moderation is instant and the rate of error is also minimal if the algorithm has enough information. This system is uniquely designed to prevent spamming and the generation of duplicate content. It is more flexible and faster than the manual moderation process.

Manual photo moderation is the best when it comes to following a guideline. This technique can easily be tweaked as per the need and it works best for small business operations. Usually, a moderator is there in these businesses who check all images collected in the process and then give approval. Hiring an image moderation solutions provider is necessary when the need is huge and the time for image screening is less.

The main error of automatic moderation is it rejects images without verifying the content at all. Sometimes the software rejects good images by showing the cause of rule violation, which is a drawback of this process. However, this model is best for identifying identical images and keeping them aloof from the system.

4.1 Hybrid Moderation

Choosing the right approach to moderate images is necessary and therefore hybrid is the best solution here. Hybrid image moderation is the mix of manual and automated moderation processes. Companies nowadays prefer this model to moderate content and images on their platform.

What do they do here? They simply deploy an AI system to the moderation process at the initial stage. The AI system processes a large volume of moderation tasks with ease and later on, passes the task results to the respective moderator. The moderators, human beings, qualify and validate the task that the AI system has filtered.

When it comes to choosing the most viable method of photo moderation, hybrid is the answer. Companies are implementing a hybrid image moderation team for all the moderation tasks and getting their results quickly.

5. Technique or Methods of Moderation

Moderating the graphics plays the most important role in providing a secure environment on the website. Users would feel safe while being active on the platform if they do not find any problematic content there. The process of image moderation has multiple techniques, a few popular techniques are mentioned below.

5.1 Image Labeling

The technique of labeling photos as per the content is not a new concept. In this moderation technique, images are labeled in different categories using different tags. These tags help the AI algorithm to learn what is in the content of the image. This is the most decent method of moderation that is also powerful in detecting harmful images.

For example, particular labels are used in different images to define different images. If an image reveals nudity then the image is getting tagged as nudity. While assessing the image if the AI algorithm reads the tage then it automatically removes the image or flags the image. This technique is quite old and very powerful in deleting inappropriate content from the platform.

5.2 Similarity Detection

Detecting similarity is very important in reducing the chances of copyright violation. In this image moderation technique, similarities between different images are getting detected. The process involves comparing the database and finding near-matches. After checking the uniqueness of the image, a hash or digital fingerprint is given to every processed image.

This method of photo moderation is uniquely useful for detecting repetitive content. Sometimes the same user posts the same content multiple times and the algorithm deletes the content every time through moderation. However, through similarity checking, the content cannot be reposted again once it gets blocked on the platform.

5.3 OCR

Companies choose to outsource image moderation for detecting OCR (Optical Character Recognition) content. Sometimes users post pictures of writing so usage of OCR technology is needed here to help the algorithm to understand the content. This technology converts images into text and helps the algorithm to moderate the content.

5.4 Block Bad Images

Sometimes blocking different URLs becomes a very important part of image moderation services. A few websites are there that host offensive images and other forms of content. Therefore, pasting the link to these websites can harm your website. Therefore, the moderator will block the link of these URLs and secure your website from getting a flood of bad images.

5.5. Make Custom AI Models

Providing training to AI models is a part of the image moderation technique. In this process, AI models are given a specific database to learn from. The dataset contains labeled images so that AI models can learn to categorize images and make distinctions between appropriate and inappropriate images. Training AI models with this technique provides a high degree of specification in the photo moderation process.

6. Why Outsource Image Moderation?

Choosing between outsourcing or having an in-house team is difficult and you can avoid going through these differences. You can prefer outsourcing if you have yet not decided to have your in-house team for photo moderation purposes. Here are a few things you can get when you choose to outsource image moderation process.

6.1 Quality

Moderating images needs a higher degree of engagement with quality and you must not image this fact at any cost. You have to choose a client that has done this work in the past and they are qualified to handle bulk moderation work.

6.2 Faster Response

The speed of the response also decides many things when it comes to delegating the moderation task via outsourcing. The service provider must be very responsive and have 24/7 service availability.

6.3 Use of the Latest Tools

Use of the latest technology is a must for photo moderation work. The service provider that you would choose must have a basic and advanced level of knowledge of handling the latest tools. The application of the latest tool will make the moderation process stronger and more effective.

Outsourcing the image moderation work also saves costs and is equally effective as in-house moderation work. You must ensure proper negotiation with the moderation service provider and sign a detailed contract before delegating the task. Before looking for an outsourcing company, specify the exact need for the outsourcing.

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