What Is UGC Moderation and Why Should You Care

ByMashkoor Alam


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Brands often go overboard when promoting their products and services. This results in them adding statements to their promotional campaigns that might not even be true. This is why, when we shop online, we don’t directly accept the claims of the sellers. Instead, we scroll down to the product reviews section to find out what other people say about it. It is often more trustworthy to us. But to what extent can you even trust these reviews?

On the other hand, if you’re a business owner who displays these reviews or any other kind of user-generated content (UGC) on your website, you must know that there are people who might be leaving negative reviews and getting paid for it, or spreading misinformation and hate speech in the comments section or might just be using bad language. This is why UGC moderation is so important.

In this guide, you will learn why exactly is UGC moderation important for your business and how you can get started with it. You will also get to learn some best practices to follow.

Table of contents

What is UGC moderation?

UGC moderation refers to a process of managing user-generated content on different platforms. Moderation is usually done in accordance with determined community guidelines, legal regulations and other ethical or moral standards.

UGC moderation seeks to ensure a positive user experience and to protect users from inappropriate or harmful content.

What UGC moderation isn’t

Moderating content is not the same as censoring unpleasant content. For instance, deleting all negative reviews on your website is not moderation. It is an unethical trade practice that can even backfire as customers may lose trust in your brand.

On the other hand, moderation leads to more authenticity and productive engagement on the platform. It encourages constructive feedback, which benefits both customers and increases brand reputation.

Why should you care about UGC moderation?

Today, user generated content is crucial for marketing strategy due to its accessibility and flexibility. However, these qualities can sometimes lead to undesirable consequences. This is where moderation becomes important. Some of the challenges that UGC moderation seeks to resolve include:

1. Undesirable content

This includes spam content, bots and trolls, hate speech, deepfakes and illegal content. A good and effective moderation strategy is essential to keep out such content from your platform ensuring a safe, inclusive and positive online environment for all community members.

This is important to not just maintain a safe space for your audience, but also increase the overall quality of content and enhance user experience while navigating through your platform.

Legal restrictions may be placed on content for a variety of reasons. Ignoring such legal issues may make one liable to penalties and other legal consequences. So it’s important that you identify any illegal content on your website and take care of them promptly.

3. Quality of engagement

Unwanted content can act as a barrier to good quality engagement on your platform. Imagine trying to have a serious conversation in a room where someone is having a loud argument. Unmoderated online communities can often become the digital equivalent of that situation.

In some cases, it may even bring down both the customers’ willingness to contribute to your platform and lead to a loss of trust.

How to get started with UGC moderation

When you’ve decided to do UGC moderation, you must make sure that you do it right. If you’re new to it, here’s a step-by-step on how to have more effective content moderation.

Step 1: Evaluate your needs

A one-size-fits-all approach is hard to come by for UGC moderation. You can evaluate your needs by asking yourself these key questions. Considering these questions will give you more clarity on what exactly you need to focus on and will help you in devising a better strategy:

  • Do you get the most content on your platform or a third-party platform?

  • What kind of content are your users posting?

  • Are they competitors, spam bots or genuine customers?

  • What is the scale at which you require moderation?

  • What kind of content will you be moderating?

Large companies like Meta or Google may need a large and dedicated team to moderate a large volume of content. However, a small business may delegate the task to a modest team.

Step 2: Choose the right tools

This decision must be made with due consideration. An ideal tool should provide maximum consistency, timeliness, flexibility and context sensitivity. The tool you choose will also define which mode of UGC moderation you’ll follow and vice versa. The different modes of UGC moderation are:

  1. Manual moderation: Manual moderation refers to content moderation by humans. The greatest advantage of human moderation is adequate context sensitivity and flexibility. A human content moderator can consider various aspects, such as the intention behind the content.

At the same time, human moderators may also have personal prejudices. This can lead to biased moderation. Further, dealing with disturbing content every day may affect the mental health of employees.

  1. Automated moderation: Automated moderation refers to the use of tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to moderate content. AI can be used to automatically identify and remove undesirable content from a platform.

The obvious advantage of using AI in content moderation is its speed and efficiency. Some popular AI moderation tools include Hive Moderation, Amazon Rekognition, WebPurify, Respondology and Pattr.

However, automated moderation can sometimes be unaware of context. This can lead to false positives by flagging otherwise acceptable content. It is also not always effective when users modify content to bypass AI moderators. Examples of this include tweaking spellings or using similar-sounding words.

  1. Hybrid moderation: This method uses a combination of both the above approaches. This is done to combine the best aspects of both manual and automated moderation. AI is usually used for primary filtering of content, which is then reviewed by human moderators. Evaluation based on response times, accuracy rates and user satisfaction is important here.

Step 3: Determine your UGC moderation guidelines

What is and is not acceptable on your platform is a key consideration of any moderation policy. You must have your guidelines in place before you start moderating. Some of the key points to note are:

  1. Define core values: Have a clear idea of what your brand stands for. For example, if inclusiveness is one of your core values, your platform may not tolerate hate speech. Defining your values can ensure a consistent and value-based moderation policy.

  2. Understand your target audience: This can help you create a content policy that is mindful of cultural sensitivities. For instance, your brand’s language policy will depend on your primary or target audience.

  3. Examining industry best practices: UGC moderation is now a vast field. Major UGC platforms already have their own moderation policies. This implies that you do not have to start building your guidelines from scratch. You can borrow suitable practices from your industry leaders. This can also be done in consultation with various stakeholders such as community managers, user representatives and various internal stakeholders.

  4. Communicating your guidelines: Your users should be clearly told what is and isn’t acceptable on your platform. While a detailed page describing the platform’s moderation policy can help, it is helpful to have shorter, more accessible reminder messages. For example, a short message asking users to be respectful and mindful of their language in the comment bar.

  5. Monitoring and updation: The effectiveness and relevance of your guidelines must be constantly evaluated. It is important that your policy is dynamic and updated with the ever-evolving world and society.

Best practices to follow in UGC moderation

Let us now go through a few best practices that will help you get started on your brand’s moderation policy. These can be adapted to suit your specific needs.

  • Implement clear guidelines and rules for user-generated content.

  • Use automated tools for initial screening and flagging of inappropriate or offensive content.

  • Train moderators to handle different types of content and situations effectively.

  • Encourage community involvement in reporting and flagging inappropriate content.

  • Regularly review and update moderation policies to adapt to changing circumstances.

  • Balance between freedom of expression and maintaining a safe and respectful environment.

  • Provide transparency in moderation processes and decisions.

  • Continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of moderation efforts.


UGC often acts as a site of dialogue between the brand and its consumers. Thus, it is important to view content moderation not just as a brand’s responsibility but also as a field of opportunity for greater engagement and responsibility to keep the online world safe and respectful for everyone. If you use the power of UGCs in any form to positively influence your marketing efforts, you must also follow the best practices and step-by-step guide and set up UGC moderation for your online store. This will not only keep your brand safe but also protect your customers from harm and improve your brand reputation and image.


The best method to moderate content is often specific to the particular context. Generally, a hybrid method of employing both human and artificial intelligence moderators can help reach a balance in terms of maximum consistency, timeliness, flexibility and context sensitivity. Here, the AI systems are used to flag inappropriate content which is then reviewed by human moderators.

There are multiple strategies that platforms can adopt to increase user engagement. These include providing clear content guidelines, incentivizing quality content, using tools for better moderation and improving the platform to enable a more UGC-friendly digital environment by moderating any harmful or inappropriate content.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:


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