Get your online community back

March 19, 2018
Get your online community back

Many large media companies such as CNN, Reuters and NPR have closed commenting on their websites. The trend of shutting down commenting platforms started in 2014 as a result of increasing hostility in commenting and growing online audience making management of the content unbearable. Many media companies deemed that the negative influence of the toxic content exceeded the positive value of the opportunity to comment, discuss and participate.

Also, the tightening legislation is challenging the media. Last fall the European Commission published guidelines for web companies to crack down hate speech and speech inciting violence and terrorism. The Commission warned that if the guidelines don’t lead to changes it will pass them in legislation. Some countries have also pushed the legislation independently. For example, in Germany the media companies face fines up to 50 million euros if they continuously fail to remove illegal content from their websites.

Online community is not just a commenting feature, it is a core part of the user experience today.

Despite the moderation is difficult and painful, the online communities forming around the commenting and discussion areas are critical for media companies. Online community is not just a commenting feature, it is a core part of the user experience today. Commenting creates an important part of the value increasing the number of the users and time spent on the websites. Engagement is in the heart of the community and websites able to inspire active communities have competitive edge in the transforming online media landscape. Therefore, media companies have actively tried to find new innovative solutions to the moderation problem.

Over the last years, text analytics and machine learning have gradually produced extremely useful applications. One of the most useful ones is automatic moderation. My company, Utopia Analytics provides probably the most complete and practical automatic moderation tool in the markets, protecting online communities and users from toxic and illicit content in all languages. This kind of tools have key role in opening the commenting and discussion areas in online media channels again. The sooner the companies react the better their position to build a lively online community and harness the increasing value and possibilities in digital transformation.

Erkka Ryynänen
AI Solutions Manager

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