How Effective Is Image Moderation?

Although it might not seem obvious at first glance, image moderation is not only a form of digital activism, but also a quite powerful and effective one.

Image moderation seeks to cleanse the web of inappropriate imagery to protect the people browsing online, mainly kids, from offensive and otherwise harmful content while surfing the web. Some may argue that it often is used to defend corporate interests, by protecting a brand or institutions image, or simply prevent it from being used, possibly in a way that affects not only the brand, but also the broader population negatively, but in that case, it can also be argued that some other kinds of digital activism can be used for less than admirable projects.

Digital activism consists of using digital media and technology to try and make political and social change happen, however small, without using the means of the established system. And when you’re protecting people, especially children, and trying to make a better world for them, that is digital activism in its purest form. By moderating which images can and cannot be seen online, you’re protecting kids not only from seeing what they shouldn’t, ranging from excessive violence to bad examples of behavior or body image, which could affect their values and who they will be in the future, but you can also prevent them from being seen. By moderating images of young children, you can help eliminate child obscenity, and help defend children in general from being seen and chosen by sick minds like those of pedophiles.

Of course, as with any other forms of activism and technology, image moderation isn’t a perfect system, and it can be abused. But by helping these services find the inappropriate and offending imagery that is spread online, you can help shield and protect people, not only from these images, but from far bigger social problems, and you can call attention and provoke discussions about these problems, leading not only to social, but to the possibility of political change as well. And that is the very definition of the goal of digital activism.

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