From Hate Speech to Spam: How Content Moderation Services Keep the Internet in Check

From Hate Speech to Spam: How Content Moderation Services Keep the Internet in Check

The prevalence of harmful content on the internet has led to impactful psychological effects on users. With this, content moderation services are needed now more than ever to keep our digital spaces safe.

According to a 2023 report by Bark, a parental control app, around 67% of tweens and 76% of teens experienced bullying on social media, whether as a bully, victim, or witness.

With billions of users logging into social media daily, maintaining a healthy online environment for children and adults cannot be emphasized enough. 

Types of Harmful Content

In general, harmful content refers to any type of online material that may cause users harm or distress. However, this definition can be subjective depending on the person’s cultural background or beliefs.

Listed below are some of the most common types of harmful content found online:

1.Hate Speech

In the online world, hate speech refers to offensive language targeted towards a certain group of people or an individual based on their race, gender, or religion. It is a form of discrimination that can incite violence and harassment.

Since hate speech can be done anonymously and shared easily across online platforms, it can potentially reach a global audience in real-time.


Another popular type of harmful content is cyberbullying, which is done to intimidate, threaten, and harass a person by posting hurtful comments, sharing personal content, or spreading rumors about them.

Cyberbullying is often done on social media, messaging apps, and gaming platforms. This repeated behavior can have long-term negative consequences on a person’s mental health.

3.Graphic and Violent Content

Disturbing or violent content can also be present on many social media channels. This type of content may include stories and graphic images or videos of self-harm, suicide, or abuse, which can make an audience uncomfortable or unsafe.


Fake news can spread like wildfire on social media, and this problem has only worsened over the years. As a result, more people believe outlandish or exaggerated stories instead of fact-checked truth. 

The pervasiveness of misinformation on the internet has seriously impacted the journalism industry, threatening public interests.

5.Promotion of Drugs and Illegal Activities

It is also possible for users to encounter illicit content such as drug trafficking and other illegal activities. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy revealed that the most popular drugs purchased through social media are marijuana and ecstasy.

6.Indecent Imagery

The distribution of indecent imagery on the internet is another problem that needs to be addressed through content moderation services. An indecent image can be classified as a nude or semi-nude image of children under 18 years old.

In most cases, the child is coerced by an online predator to create or share indecent images of themselves.

7.Terrorist or Extremist Material

Harmful online content also encompasses terrorist or extremist material, such as articles, images, and videos promoting terrorism and violence. Websites containing terrorist propaganda may intimidate, radicalize, and facilitate attacks, which poses a risk to society at large.

8.Online Scams and Phishing Attempts

The internet is also a breeding ground for online scams. Scammers can use emails or text messages to convince you to share your personal and financial information. They usually pretend to be a representative from a trusted company or bank.

Addressing Harmful Content Online

In a digital world crawling with harmful online material, what do tech companies do to moderate content? How is this pressing issue being addressed by top moderation companies?

A content moderation company provides the most effective moderation services to keep the internet in check. Some of the services they may provide include:

1.Image Moderation

Using manual and sophisticated image-checking methods, they can screen and analyze images in multiple formats to gauge their appropriateness based on the brand’s guidelines.

2.Video Moderation

They can also identify and remove graphic or disturbing videos on websites, pages, or apps to ensure compliance with existing regulations. 

3.Text and Chat Moderation

To facilitate healthy interactions on a company’s messaging platform or online forum, content moderation companies can provide text and chat moderation. Typically, they use keyword filters to detect and flag profanity and offensive language.

4.User-Generated Content Moderation

This uses a combination of the above services.

An organization or business that thrives on user-generated content (UGC) can benefit from UGC content moderation services. This can guarantee a positive user experience, increased engagement, and higher sales.

AI-Based Content Moderation Strategies

Due to the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, content moderation can be performed using AI tools. Through this technology, content moderation services can be automated, resulting in a more efficient process.

AI-based content moderation is a revolutionary solution to the challenge of moderating extensive amounts of data in the shortest possible time. From hate speech to spam, content moderation through AI is the newest technique in keeping the internet free from inappropriate content.

However, with this advancement comes the question: Is AI content moderation better than humans?

AI-powered content moderation is indeed a powerful tool for safeguarding online communities and boosting a brand’s online presence. However, this method still has some limitations, which can only be fulfilled by having a team of human content moderators.

Human moderators are more equipped to handle complex cases based on a more nuanced context. With this, human oversight is still necessary to maintain high-quality moderation practices.

Leveraging Human and AI-Based Content Moderation Services

A content moderation company that offers content moderation through AI and manual moderation can ensure a foolproof process of analyzing and getting rid of unwanted content in every corner of the digital realm.

With new forms of content expected to develop in the future, the role of AI in content moderation is also likely to expand. However, human supervision is still crucial to achieve the best results and foster continuous improvement.