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Digital content moderation industry expected to reach $13.60B by 2027

Key topics discussed in this article:

  • What is digital content moderation?
  • How big is the digital content moderation industry
  • Digital content moderation market statistics and facts
  • Digital content moderation industry trends
  • Companies offering digital content moderation solutions
  • Key challenges of the digital content moderation industry

What is digital content moderation?

Digital content moderation is a service that allows an online platform to sort inappropriate media content (graphic violence, exploitation, extremism, abuse and suicide) through a combination of tech (AI and ML) and human solutions.

How big is the digital content moderation industry

According to MarketWatch, the digital content moderation industry is expected to grow to $13.60 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 9.3% during 2021-2027.

Digital content moderation market statistics & facts

  • More than 95% of reported content is taken down by AI (source);
  • There are more than 15,000 moderators at Facebook and most are contracted through third-party firms (source);
  • YouTube has expanded its global workforce of moderators to 10,000 (source);
  • Twitter, a much smaller company, has about 1,500 moderators (source);
  • A Facebook content moderator can review between 700 and 2000 posts a day (source);
  • On Facebook alone, more than 3 million items are reported on a daily basis by Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems and users as potentially warranting removal (source);
  • The inappropriate content includes graphic violence, exploitation, extremism, abuse and suicide;
  • Facebook has built content moderation algorithms that detect 99.9% of spam and 99.3% of terrorist propaganda (source);
  • The type of content that AI falls short to detect: adult nudity, sexual activity, drugs and firearms (source);
  • The moderators cannot speak to friends and families about the content they see due to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which they sign at the beginning of their contract;
  • The content moderating job takes a serious toll on moderators’ mental health ranging from anxiety to PTSD. As a result, Facebook recently paid a $52m settlement covering 11k+ moderators who suffered from PTSD on the job (source).

Digital content moderation industry trends

The trend in the digital content moderation industry is the development of AI-based tools. In the last years, advancements have been made in speech analysis and converting audio to text. The AI has been trained to detect spam and terrorist propaganda with good results.

Despite that, progress is still to be made in regards to other types of content, such as adult nudity, drugs and firearms. Unfortunately, human moderation is still necessary to fill the gaps.

Companies offering digital content moderation solutions

Social media giants like Facebook and Google have developed their own AI-based content moderation systems. Nevertheless, Facebook’s in-house efforts to manage the gargantuan demand of content moderation has proven insufficient and turned to outsource. According to The HustleFacebook is paying Accenture $500 million a year to moderate content on its platforms.

Companies providing customers with third-party digital content moderation solutions:

  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Accenture
  • Appen

Key challenges of the digital content moderation industry

  1. Lack of accuracy. The AI’s main challenge is its lack of accuracy. The solution is data but there is not enough data to develop an accurate model. Analyzing billions of pieces of content on a daily basis means accuracy is oftentimes sacrificed. To get accuracy, AI must be provided with data; data is an expensive commodity and is retained by the company collecting it as its property. It’s a neverending cycle.
  2. Diversity of language. English is not the only language spoken on media platforms so the AI must be trained to recognize dozens of different languages.

Key factors driving the growth of the digital content moderation industry

  • The changing nature of contents from harmful to political;
  • Increased global access to the internet with penetration of 59.5%;
  • The fast-paced growth of users on digital platforms (news, eCommerce, social media);
  • 59.08% of the world’s active internet users access Facebook every month (source);
  • Development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) digital tools.

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