There are as many dangers on the use of the internet as it has a full span of advantages and selling points. As internet surfing has become more rapid through the development of various mobile devices, it has also opened ways for virtual crimes to evolve at the same rate as moderation strategies and systems. By allowing user-generated content on your website and social media profiles alone, this poses huge risks for your brand’s reputation and the overall safety of your end-users.
The goal of online scammers is to steal identities of users, private and sensitive information, and ultimately overrun computers and programs with deadly viruses. Many have already fallen victim to various types of online scams, and this can also be detrimental to your business’ online presence. The most common online threats and scams encountered by end-users include phishing, fake profiles, trolling, hacking, fraud, malware, and ransomware. Once your brand becomes associated with any of the said online threats, it could dramatically decrease your credibility.
Taking a closer look at these threats: How do customers encounter such scams or fall prey to online dangers?
Online scamming and threats are more prevalent to end-users who are not that savvy with technology. As such, these risks should not be ignored. To help you determine whether you have encountered a scam or not, here’s a brief discussion on some of today’s most common online threats:
Online trolling – Trolling online usually takes place when a registered member of an online community (e.g., forum, chat room, social media channel) emotionally and psychologically provokes fellow users through expressing sarcastic, hurtful remarks and offensive messages. Trolling is more rampant in social media, forums, and even in online blogs. The aim of online trolls is to vent and project their pent-up anger, frustrations, sadness, and lack of attention.
Fake profiles – Fake profiles can also be in the form of duplicate profiles. On Facebook alone, there has been a classification of the various types of fake accounts made through the widely used social media platform. For instance, Like bots exist mainly to like posts and pages and are often limited to a closed group of bots. They aim to promote certain brands or celebrities. There are also spambots that post spammy ads on Facebook groups with a clear intention of heavily promoting and hard selling certain products to other users. Spambots can be easily spotted because they have zero to very few friends, and their friend list is comprised mostly of fellow bots. But out of all the types of fake profiles out there, those used by stalkers and impersonators pose the highest danger. Using fake profiles is a way for stalkers to spy on people and even send threats to their targets without their identity being traced; while impersonators will intentionally use another individual’s name to trick other people and cause confusion for their own selfish gains.
Phishing – Phishing makes use of emails to trick targets into visiting fraud sites. These fraud sites are carefully disguised and crafted to seem like valid e-commerce or online banking sites. As such, once the victims are convinced that they are visiting a legitimate website, they will use their real account to gain access to the page. However, all information they input is in truth being transported directly to the scammers. Scammers will now be able to use these acquired personal details to wipe out their victims’ accounts, commit identity theft, and even drain credit cards.
Greeting card scams – Taking the form of messages or greetings seemingly sent by a family member or a friend, this particular scam will lead unsuspecting users to a webpage that automatically downloads malicious software and viruses and infects the victim’s devices with it.
Malware – Taken from the combination of the words ‘malicious’ and ‘software,’ the malware creates a ‘backdoor’ in your computer or device to gain access to your system without your knowledge and permission to ultimately steal all private information you have stored. It can also be software that does not fulfill what it initially promised you to do upon acquiring or downloading it. Some of the most common types of malware include malvertising or the use of real, legitimate online ads to distribute malicious software; rootkit that gains administrative rights over your website, and Trojan horse, a seemingly authentic and highly operating anti-virus program that introduces harmful viruses into your system. Often, malware infection occurs after downloading software that’s packed with malicious applications. Some malware-ridden programs include system and internet optimizers, download assistants, and counterfeit antivirus software. When not immediately addressed, malware can take advantage of certain weaknesses in your system’s security—particularly outdated browsers, plug-ins, and add-ons.
Ransomware – This is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system either by locking files or screens while demanding payment to provide a decrypt key. The money demanded varies depending on the variant of ransomware, exchange rates and prices of digital currencies. Ransomware operators use cryptocurrencies to specify ransom payments in bitcoins. Sadly, there are cases where paying the demanded ransom money does not fully guarantee the decryption key or unlocking tool needed for the victim to regain access to their hosted files.
Hacking – Hacking of social media accounts, WiFi, and even bank accounts are usually executed on individuals with passwords and pin codes that have low strength, as well as those who’ve set default passwords to various accounts on all their devices. Last year, Dropbox was on hiatus after its database of passwords and usernames got stolen across other services.
Each day, more and more users fall victim to online scams, and it is the job of content moderation services providers to maintain a safe environment for end-users and brands.
Content moderation services cover distinct forms of content shared by your end-users to help broaden the reach of protection you can deliver
Moderation protects the quality of your website content, checks the readability of user-generated posts, and eliminates duplicate materials, ads, and low-quality images.
From comment and forum moderation to regulating social media channels and chat rooms, to video, image, and website content moderation, you can eliminate harmful posts and prevent online threats from infesting your brand and your customers more adeptly.
Use moderation for comment and forums to enhance the engagement of your audience. It would be best to develop and implement a moderation policy to protect your community and your members from targeted online abuse. With a solid moderation policy, you can easily encourage community members to concentrate on initiating sensible, quality discussions instead of gravitating towards flooding each other with slanderous remarks.
For chat moderation, your methods should put emphasis on boosting the accuracy and dependability of how you review posts made by and exchanged between your users. You must also see to it that no chat regulations, specifically those involving the exchange of images or accessing games (if permitted through your messaging app) are violated.
A lot of business owners who employ content moderation services for their website designate certain pages on their site where user-generated content and posts are allowed. This way, you can closely monitor and prevent obscene, inappropriate subjects from being posted on your website or associated with your brand. On the other hand, video and image moderation can be made more efficient through maintaining a keen eye on the details of multimedia content being shared on your social media channels and forums. That said, photos shared and posted by your community members must comprise high-resolution details, descriptive headlines and short but concise descriptions for each image. Clearly, define your guidelines, stick with your branding, and make sure your moderation team keeps a strict rule on eliminating offensive and sexually provocative depictions on the images and videos shared on your page or site. If you are outsourcing image moderation, make sure that their services are customizable to fit your branding and the core of your services.
Last but not the least is social media moderation, which covers filtering of online content to check relevant mentions on your business, scanning social media channels across the web, as well as keeping an eye out for what the online community has to say about your products and services. Moderation for business social media channels is mostly exclusive to “owned” channels or pages of different brands. As such, business owners have full control over determining which posts made by their audience is inappropriate from those that are still acceptable. They also have a strong say on which action should be implemented on certain posting or sharing violations.
In a recent blog by Nick Hopkins, it was revealed that Facebook, one of the social media giants of today’s generation, uses a combination of teams of moderators and automated systems to regulate graphic content from being disseminated on the said platform.
Facebook’s moderation guidelines have certain exemptions based on situational or contextual differences. This means that there is a need for their moderators to really assess whether a comment or post is a real threat and should be acted upon or is simply something that holds no real plot for exacting harm or violence. Likewise, exemptions are given to posts that show users openly demonstrating attempt for self-harm for the reason that they do not want to censor or punish individuals suffering from deep agony. Photos of child abuse are given “no action” but with an implementation of added protection to shield the general audience, because such images can be used as “evidence” that may lead to the identification and rescue of the child in the picture shared. Facebook-CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already announced that they are continuously fortifying their current moderation tools, increasing their manpower, simplified how people can report problems to the Facebook team, and have sped up reviewing time for posts that violate their guidelines.
Apart from dependable content, image, and comment moderation services, what steps can end-users do on their part to prevent from falling prey to online scams?
End-users and customers also have their part in the prevention of online scams from spreading and adding more victims to its list.
- One of the most basic contributions that the online community can do is to ignore trolls and bear in mind that addressing hurtful comments are not worth anyone’s time or emotional investment. Online trolls are usually the ones who are suffering, and it should not be anybody’s discretion to allow them to be at the receiving end of their frustration and anger.
Instances of fake accounts, especially those trying to impersonate you or someone you know should be reported immediately. Victims of impersonation should seek help from police and the social media site’s authorized personnel. Giving in to the threats caused by online stalkers will only worsen the situation.
Avoid opening emails and messaging attachments from unknown individuals or suspicious groups. Regularly update passwords and increase its strength to avoid being hacked. Birth dates, names, and anniversaries are some examples of bad passwords that can be easily decrypted by hackers.
Schedule regular updates for software especially when updates are available. Malware can be eliminated by simply uninstalling the virus-infested program from your computer. On the other hand, there are certain forms of malware that require more sophisticated steps for them to be deleted for good. Such variations of malicious software usually need rogue registry keys or keys that contain registry values critical for the operation of Windows and the apps and services it runs. In this regard, specialized programs and antimalware is a must-have.
Take the necessary precautions and double-check whether you have authentic antivirus and antimalware programs installed on your system. If needed, have your programs configured to consistently check for signs of any malicious activities.
Business owners with social media pages can employ a process called advanced targeting to keep likebots from clicking on your ads. Try interacting with suspected spambot profiles to check whether the profile is real or not. Spambots will most likely interact very rarely, even through private message.
Always triple-check where you download certain files or software. Chances are you have opened your system for virus infestation by downloading a simple song or image from a suspicious or unsafe website. Sites with https certificate are usually secure and safe to browse.
Every day, moderators are bombarded with reports of suspected content, online threats, and scams, as well as fake profiles and provocative posts.
Content moderation services — be it in the form of image moderation, comment, and forum moderation, or social media moderation—is a vital tool for boosting your brand’s credibility and creating a safe online community for your customers. When executed properly, it will effectively support your brand’s core goals while building your competency and trustworthiness.
Despite being mainly a tool for observation, moderation opens communication line between you and your audience; letting you have a clearer picture of what they say about your brand and what they demand from your services. Lastly, the most effective moderation solutions gain more efficiency and become a smarter tool through experience.