IAB – Clearing Up Confusion on Comment Moderation with New Guidelines for Businesses

    Thinktank Social

    Last week the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) launched guidelines for Social Media Comment Moderation (providing advice on how companies and brands should deal with interactions from the public on their social media assets). The guidelines are designed to build upon the existing guidance set out by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). IAB hopes to showcase best practice with respect to comment moderation and provide overall guidance on how to manage social conversations.
    Samantha Yorke, the Director of Regulatory Affairs at IAB Australia suggests there has been some confusion amongst the business community about how to best manage user comments on social media platforms. “After a careful analysis of existing laws and regulation and industry practice around social media IAB Australia has reached the view that user comments directed towards an organisation or social media platform, or to other users who are drawn to a particular organisation, do not constitute advertising.”
    “There is a real risk that organisations who treat user comments as advertising will err on the side of caution and moderate user comments very conservatively, which will adversely impact their presence on social platforms and which arguably undermines the very spirit under which social media thrives,” Yorke added.

    On top of the legal information provided (surrounding what elements businesses are legally bound by, the Guidelines also set down the best practice recommendations as follows:

    1. Develop moderation guidelines and publish them on your social media property so that your community is very clear about how behaviour is being managed.
    2. Consider developing an internal moderation schedule, appropriate to your resourcing levels, which identifies who is moderating which social media properties and at which times.
    3. Develop a crisis management plan in the event that an issue arises on your social media platform which needs escalating.
    4. Moderate the user comments on your branded social media properties to the extent your resources allow.
    5. If you don’t have the resources within your organisation to moderate user comments, or your internal risk analysis has deemed your use of social media platforms to be high risk, consider hiring a specialist moderation business that have all the necessary clearances and are well versed in conflict management and jurisdictional matters.
    6. If you are directly soliciting a response or the creation of user generated content in relation to a provocative or edgy question posted on your social media channels which are likely to elicit controversial responses, ensure you have adequate resources to take extra care to review all responses and any provided user generated content promptly.
    7. If your business or product is directed towards children, be aware that there may be specific legal or regulatory requirements that you need to meet, and you should employ moderators who have been through a working with children check or police check and who are trained to identify suspicious behaviour which could be indicative of grooming or other predatory behaviour.
    8. Regularly review the tools that are available to you when you develop a presence on social media and consider which tools are appropriate for you to implement
    9. Provide feedback to the platform operators around how the tools work and any suggestions for improvement.
    With government law recently introducing requirements ASX listed companies with regards to social media, it’s positive to see the IAB providing proactive assistance for businesses and brands. Whether you’re ASX listed or not, these guidelines help us to see best practice examples – which is great news for all. Thanks for ‘sharing’ IAB J
    The Guideline can be downloaded at: http://iabaustralia.com.au/UserCommentModeration