Disinformation and hateful behavior are an unfortunate problem for social media platforms and social media marketers alike, which is why social media moderation is so important.
While some platforms handle moderation better than others, recent events have solidified the importance of clear policies and effective enforcement for protecting brand integrity.
Ever since social media’s meteoric rise, community guidelines have proven essential to social media platforms’ business models. While some take moderation very seriously, others don’t – and they pay the price.
X is losing advertisers
X (formerly Twitter) is losing money rapidly because of poor content moderation and posts from its owner.
IBM, Apple, Disney, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and more halted ads on X (formerly Twitter) in Nov 2023 after owner Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Ad pull-outs were estimated to reach $75 million in advertising revenue loss by the end of 2023 – just two months.
The New York Times reports that according to internal documents, more than 200 ad units of companies halted or considered pausing their ads on the social network.
X also discontinued one of its moderation tools – one that detected coordinated misinformation. The platform also removed a feature that once spotted accounts that shared identical media, which has been crucial for finding and stopping disinformation campaigns.
Stepping away from content moderation has landed X in hot water with both advertisers and governments. The EU has issued a formal warning to the company about disinformation on the platform and X could face major fines if the issue isn’t resolved.
Social media moderation is essential for compliance
X isn’t the only platform to run into hurdles because of poor community management, Meta has also had its fair share of content issues, with its Oversight Board currently examining a manipulated video of American President Joe Biden. The video will likely impact Meta’s Manipulated Media policies in 2024, ahead of the US election.
This investigation comes as global governments look into the impact of disinformation campaigns and altered media on elections and the responsibility social media platforms have to tackle misrepresentation.
Meta also suspended COVID-19-related searches on Threads, exemplifying the importance of social media moderation to the success and growth of its brand as well as to maintaining consumer trust and attracting advertisers.
Many countries and governments have passed legislation to protect their citizens from disinformation online, and it behooves social media platforms to understand this legislation and comply with its terms. The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) contains strict content moderation rules and requires any platform operating in the EU to follow them or face severe penalties.
This is just one piece of legislation passed in recent years and it marks a significant shift in digital regulation. The DSA compels companies like Meta and X to prioritize content moderation and conduct a proper risk analysis to protect European citizens’ privacy and to prevent misinformation and the misrepresentation of public figures.
The DSA applies to 19 companies, all of which it defines as “very large online platforms“, having more than 45 million monthly users. This is likely only a first step from the EU in regulating user-generated digital content – other countries are poised to enact legislation in the coming years as well.
The writing is on the wall; effective social media moderation is a critical part of successfully running a social media platform. Advertisers are paying close attention to which organizations take the task seriously. When user-generated content becomes hateful or works to spread disinformation, consumer trust is lost and advertisers are quick to move on. Instead, they will opt to spend their ad dollars where they can more effectively build trust with their audience.
Trust is central to effective advertising – and that makes social media moderation essential for building an advertiser-friendly platform.