Outsourcing Censorship: Who Cleans Up Your Social Network’s Feed?

To keep offensive content out of our newsfeeds, social networking sites can employ one of two strategies: they can “active moderate”(screening every single post uploaded), or they can rely on their users to report anything suspicious or unsavory, and pass those reports over to content moderators. Larger sites like Twitter and Facebook tend to use the latter strategy and, given the sheer number of reported posts daily, it’s understandable that they’d decide to outsource moderation of reported content.

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Image via Tony Adams on Flickr.

Many of the people who spend their days looking through reported content are horrendously underpaid international contractors, making as little as one dollar per hour plus commissions (estimated to bring their average rate of pay up to four dollars an hour). They’re often highly educated and must pass a stringent English test in order to gain the role. Most content moderators end up leaving the role due to the psychological damage caused by hours of looking through incredibly disturbing content, from beheadings to animal torture. On-shore workers are better paid and can have very good physical working conditions, but still end up suffering greatly from what they have to look through each day: in an interview with Wired, a US based former content moderator describes developing depression and problems with alcohol as a result of the videos he was moderating for YouTube.

While Facebook’s public documentation keeps its content guidelines relatively vague, they’re laid out in explicit detail for its content moderators. A Moroccan contractor recently released his copy to Gawker, and its seventeen pages are divided into sections like “sex and nudity”, “hate content” and “graphic content.” Cartoon urine is okay, real urine is not. Deep flesh wounds and blood are okay, mothers breastfeeding is not. Some posts are judged on their context, rather than their content (eg, videos of animal abuse are okay as long as the person who posted it clearly thinks animal abuse is wrong). Strangely, all photoshopped content (whether positive, negative or neutral) is approved for deletion.

When you think about it, it’s concerning how little most social media users know about the rules they are expected to follow, or about the people and processes involved in enforcing those rules. One of the major benefits of starting your own social network is that you’re playing by your own rules – and you know exactly what those rules are. You decide what is acceptable, and what is not; both in terms of common decency, and keeping your community on-message.

Facebook Groups: The Social Network Within a Social Network

In 2010, Facebook completely revamped their Groups product; the idea was to create smaller communities within Facebook where people could discuss a shared interest, talk with their family members, buy and sell goods within their local community, connect with any of the smaller microcosms within the macrocosm of Facebook. Groups can be open (anyone can take part in the conversation), closed (anyone can request to join and see the group’s members and description, but won’t see content until they’re approved) or secret (you have to be invited by an existing member to even know the group exists). You can opt-in to get a notification every time someone posts in the group, see all posts to the group in your newsfeed, or only see content when you visit the group’s page.

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Facebook Groups: proof that people want smaller-scale social networks

Given how much Facebook filters newsfeed content from Pages, it’s no wonder businesses are turning to Groups to interact with their customers. Groups also allow you much more control over who can see and interact with your content, meaning businesses have less trolls and spammers to deal with. Posts are ordered by last interaction (a new comment will send a post to the top of the group’s feed), rather than by popularity; and you can guarantee that, unless they opt out, your members will see everything you post – without you having to pay exorbitant advertising/boosting fees. You can control content by creating your own list of group rules, and remove any members who don’t abide by them.

When people ask what’s the point of creating your own social network, they only need to look to Facebook Groups – the popularity of this service shows that there’s a demand for smaller online communities. These groups *are* their own social networks, we just don’t identify them as such because they come under the Facebook umbrella.

Facebook Groups are still subject to Facebook’s rules and regulations; you might be able to ensure everyone you’re connected with will see your posts, but Facebook still has the right to collect data about you and your group members, and they can remove your group without notice. If you create your own social network, on your own website, you get all the benefits of a Facebook Group without any of the drawbacks. You’re also able to connect with people who might not want to join the macrocosm of Facebook for personal reasons, or who might not want business activities connected with a personal account.

PeepSo 1.0.0 RC4 Is Out

PeepSo 1.0.0 RC4 is mostly a bugfix release before we announce a stable version. We’ve improved the licensing and squished bugs with MsgSo, TagSo, PicSo and other plugins. We’ve also added a new panel to PeepSo Dashboard where you can see which supporting addon plugins you have installed and which are not yet a part of your setup.

And the performance has improved too. PeepSo is now much better and much faster than we thought possible.

We’ve received some great feedback so far on PeepSo. It’s great to know that the plugins we’re working so hard on each day are finding users who really enjoy them. Communities are growing big and strong, and we’re developing bigger, happier smiles.

It’s fabulous news.

You can see the full changelog here.

As an RC version, don’t install PeepSo on a production site just yet. Soon though, real soon.

Survival of the Social Media Fittest

The internet food chain: survival of the biggest?

The internet food chain: survival of the biggest?

We’ve all seen the rise and fall of major social networks – MySpace was a place for friends, until all your friends moved over to Bebo, before they moved over to Facebook, and then some of them decided to head over to Ello.

The history of social networking (as distinct from social media) tells us that co-existing isn’t an option; that you want to be where all of your friends are, that new social networks succeed through mass migration – that it’s survival of the fittest, and the biggest.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Creating a social network doesn’t have to be about trying to win the game these internet giants have created – it can simply be a choice to play your own game, with your own rules.

Having your own social network on your own website doesn’t mean foregoing Facebook, just like inviting someone to your own private dinner party doesn’t mean they can’t go to a rave with thousands of people later that week. You can take advantage of the breadth you get advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, while using your own corner of the web to have in-depth conversations about what really matters to you and your business.

Who Should Have Their Own Private Social Network?

Who Should Have Their Own Private Social Network?

Who Should Have Their Own Private Social Network?

Who Should Have Their Own Private Social Network?

You may not need your own social network, but if you belong to one of the following groups, a social network can make a lot of sense:

  • Brands – There’s no better way to get real feedback from your audience and show that you care about your customers than your own social network. Let your members tell you what they like or what they want changed. Interact with them and you will see your satisfaction rate shoot through the roof.
  • Schools/Universities – Build a platform for your community of students and teachers to interact privately. Broadcast your announcements and messages, and speak to your entire school at once.
  • Artists – Give your fans their own space to discuss your latest album, share videos with friends and interact with you directly.
  • Authors – Build a community around your book. Let members discuss your themes, your ideas and your characters. They can ask questions, engage with you and share their fan fiction.
  • Non-Profit Organizations – Engage your volunteers and staff in your fundraising campaigns and give them new ways to collaborate and share ideas.
  • Political campaigns – Bring your supporters together to discuss the campaign, meet each other and organize. Recruit volunteers and engage in discussions.
  • Dating sites. Create a niche dating site where your users can meet online, send messages, upload photos and more.
  • Hobbies or Interest Groups – Create a community around your hobby. Whether you’re into golf, antique cars or Web design, your members will be able to share their videos, upload their photos and meet like-minded friends.
  • Teams – You own social network can give you and your team an easy and private, collaborative communication channel. Why chat when you can stay in touch and get together online?

PeepSo – Your Community. Your Way.

My name is Merav Knafo and I am the founder and CEO of PeepSo. I’m so excited to introduce PeepSo to you!

If you’ve ever dabbled with Joomla!, you may know me as the CEO of iJoomla.com and JomSocial.com. I took over JomSocial in 2013 and I am proud to say that it’s evolved and matured to be a great product. It’s going strong with a happy and loyal customer base. Read more