Blog: Our latest news

Adventures In Commenting: How We’re Improving The Community On


Here at NPR, we want to encourage discussion around all of our coverage – from the latest news on U.S. troops in Afghanistan to a review of the new Tom Hanks film. We know that discussion takes place organically on many different platforms (like Facebook and Twitter and Reddit). However, we also believe that it is important to host that discussion on our site as well.

So when we opened up to comments in 2008, we set a high bar for ourselves and for you: “We hope the conversations will be smart and generous of spirit. We hope the adventure is exciting, fun, helpful and informative.”

Since then we’ve kept our eyes on that bar, always looking for opportunities to make your experience better, and today, we’re taking the next step in that process. We’re excited to roll out the latest changes to our community that will make things faster, clearer, more relevant and more consistent for you. We’re enlisting a digital system to review and categorize comments on that will increase our quality control over each of our moderators and give us a more comprehensive view of the conversation on

Fostering a “Smart and Generous” Community Conversation

With this community that we help build on our site, we want to encourage great conversation – a place for high-quality, relevant discussion with the NPR community, our staff and even our critics on

Fulfilling our responsibility to create that healthy place for discussion includes agreeing on discussion rules with everyone who leaves a comment and also finding the best ways to moderate the conversation fairly. Over time, we’ve highlighted great comments floating among a hostile conversation, acknowledged the problem of trolls on our site (and asked people not to feed them). We’ve partnered with outside community managers to help moderate comments, widened our moderation to more individuals on the site, surveyed you for feedback and moved commenting systems.

We know that this moderation is important to keeping the conversation on track and on focus, and we know that we can have great conversation about even a hot button issue with good moderation.

At the same time, we’ve acknowledged (ironically, in our comments section) that human moderators are human, and therefore may make different judgments than other humans, even when faced with the same objective rules, and may make mistakes too. We also know that quality control among our moderation team is a really high priority.

What’s New: Computer Assisted Moderation

So we are happy to announce that we have invited in our new robot overlords. We are making the change to what we are calling “computer assisted moderation.”

NPR has partnered with a company called Keepcon, which beginning today will review every comment submitted on the site. Keepcon‘s robots then classifiy the language in our comments into categories (defined by our discussion rules) and flags comments that may violate NPR’s established guidelines. Those categories (and some other technology in the back end) should help us increase the quality control of each of our moderators and see more about each of the comments that are deleted by our moderators.

With this system, we’ll be able to allow more comments to be published immediately without the 15-minute delay of human moderation. So when you post a comment, it will be posted immediately. The algorithm review should take under 60 seconds, so our moderation delays should be ameliorated quite a bit. We also think this will lead to some additional consistency in moderation, and hopefully an even better conversation on

Let us know what you think!


Cyberbullying on the rise. New study by McAfee

Several months ago, McAfee conducted a study named “Digital Deception: Exploring the disconnection between parents and kids,” which showed the considerable increase in online harassment and cruel behavior on the internet. At the same time, the survey points out the huge disconnection that lies between what parents think their kids do online and what they are really doing.

The study was carried out in the United States last April and for that McAfee set up almost 2500 interviews online with children and Young adults from ages 10 to 23 and parents with children inside of that age range.

The results of the study reveal that:

-  23% of children/Young adults surveyed manifested having witnessed cruel behavior on the internet.  89% said these took place on Facebook and 40% said they were on Twitter.  Only 9% of the parents think their children have been witnesses to harassment or cruel behavior in social media.

- 13% of the surveyed said to have been victims of online harassment or cruel behavior. Only 6% of the parents were aware of this.

- 17% of the surveyed between 10 and 12 years old said they have witnessed online harassment or cruel behavior directed towards classmates or friends.  In young adults between 18 and 23 the rate doubled.

- 4% of children/Young adults surveyed said they have felt pressured to harass someone online.

- 71% of parents said they have spoken to their children about online harassment but only 44% of the children/Young adults admitted to have had that conversation with their parents.


cruel behavior on the internet

The study also includes a series of recommendations geared towards parents about how to face the increase of cyberbullying such as:

- Stay updated on what children do online and what means they use to log in.

- Talk to your kids about online safety and about what behavior is appropriate and what is inappropriate.

- Remind children about the amount of time they can spend online and what type of content they can publish.

-  Teach children how to recognize online harassment and motivate them to talk about these topics with you.

It’s important to know what sites the children are getting on and what type of content they can publish and exchange there. Searching for safe sites that are age-appropriate with clear policies in regards to privacy protection and  moderation of inappropriate content, is the best way of protecting children and promoting safe and healthy online communities.



Companies improve their quality of customer service online

Social Bakers’ last report, through the Socially Devoted parameter created to measure the quality of customer service in social media, indicates that brands improved their response rate on Facebook by 143% in the last year.

During the period analyzed (Q2 2013, which is computed from April 1st to June 30th, 2013) the response rate was 62%, compared to 30% corresponding to the same period the year before (Q2 2012).


In regards to the companies’ profiles, the report notes that airlines lead the ranking in customer service on Facebook (79.1%) followed by finance companies (77.7%) y then telecommunications companies (75.2%). This order was modified in regards to the same period in 2012 when the telecommunications companies held 1st place (60.4%) followed by airlines (55%) and then finance companies (46.4%).


Holand’s KLM lies within the airline companies and is leading the group with a 97.21% response rate offered to questions of the almost 4 million followers on their fan page and the average response time is 45 minutes. Surprising figures for this industry that has an average response of 79% and a response time of 475 minutes on average.

It’s worth mentioning that the main indicators that Socialbakers takes into account in order to build Socially Devoted are the percentage and the response time. With these figures, they consider that companies should respond at least 65% of the inquiries received as quick as possible.  This guarantees interaction, commitment and loyalty from the clients towards their brand.


Millionaire losses because of deficient customer service


According to a study done by NewVoiceMedia in the United Kingdom, companies that offer bad customer service lose more than 10 billion pounds a year.

The report shows that half of the clients surveyed have stopped using the service and/or products of a company after receiving bad customer service and 92% of them have switched to other companies one or two times in a year. As far as the methods of complaints, the study shows that though 66% of the people surveyed choose to talk over the phone, 49% of them stopped trying to call the company so as not to lose time waiting on hold. This means that a big percentage of consumers decided to change companies without even trying to solve the problem.

Moreover, with people surveyed that spend an average of 472 pounds, companies in the UK are estimated to be losing 12 billion pounds a year due to the bad customer service given.

The report reveals also that, when confronted with a negative experience, 56% of those surveyed would not hire any service/product from that company, 27% would be inclined to share their experience with friends and colleagues, 19% would publish negative remarks online and 14% manifest their discontent towards the company through social media.

an interesting fact unveiled by this study shows that younger generations have more patience when it comes to waiting on hold. This is probably due to their ability to multitask.

“Clients have more influence on the success of a company like never before and it is surprising to see that some organizations still don’t see it,” Jonathon Gale, CEO of NewVoiceMedia commented. “The client’s experience is a key differentiator. When offering good customer service, organizations boost sales, loyalty, and the efficiency that makes leading companies successful,” he concluded.

Sources: NewVoiceMedia y Call Centre News (

Trademark influence through Twitter

With the evolution of the social networks, great percentage of brands have understood the importance of being present there, with a main objective of creating a community of users, gain loyalty, get new clients and increase the sales volume. Besides these functions, the social networks have also become a channel of customer service essentially. Bearing this points in mind, Compete (tool for analysis, monitoring and study of the actions of the social networks) has performed a study to determine how much and how the tweets of a trademark impact and influence on the knowledge of it and on the interest of the users. The investigation ?Tweets in Action: Mobile / Tech? was performed in more than 6000 users of the United Kingdom and it focused on three different groups of users: the ones that were exposed at least to one tweet of a brand, the ones that were not exposed to any tweet, and the ones that represent the average user of internet. The main conclusion reveals that tweets direct the compromise of the trademarks. This means, the more tweets the users sees, the bigger the probability that he/she will end up visiting the web site of the brand or its communication channels to get to know more about the trademark. Among the main conclusions of the report, we highlight the following:

  • Twitter helps to reinforce the compromise with brands, their products and it generates traffic towards the web. At the same time, users exposed to brand tweets are up to 62% more inclined to visit the brand?s web site than the average internet user, who is inclined to 45%.

gr?fico influencia twitter 1

  • While the average internet user tends to search and visit at least once the trademark?s web site (30%), Twitter users do it 38%, and users that received tweets of the brand do it 46%. Consequently, it is always recommended that brand?s tweets are joined in with links directing to the websites or pages of specific products.

gr?fico influencia twitter 2

  • Twitter users tend to learn and know more about trademarks or products on magazines or external articles to the web sites of the brands. Thus, the 36% of the internet users visited this kind of pages, while Twitter users that were exposed to the marketing content of the trademark did it 28% more.

gr?fico influencia twitter 3 As a consequence, Twitter helps in a relevant way with the knowledge of the brand, with the traffic towards the web site and increases considerably the interest of the user in the products or the trademark itself. Sources: Social Underground ( and?Twitter (

Social Listening: speak only when spoken to


The evolution of marketing in social networks has developed in multiple directions. For example, customer service in social networks (Social Care) has become a main practice for many organizations. Internet users utilize social networks as exploring fields, resorting to Facebook or Twitter to complain about the services, ask companiesfor helpand recommend organizations to their personal networks. For trademarks, this became an informal way of obtaining feedback about their operations or recognizing the content of the site that can answer the users? questions.

The majority of consumers know that brands use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ to get to know more about the market. People in charge of marketing listen to conversations on the web to estimate the knowledge that people have of the brand and the popular topics (trending topics), using these key knowledge to feed the internet campaigns. However, some consumers feel that listening in social networks (Social Listening) is invasive, so the question that arises is: how can trademarks answer to the online necessities of the consumers without leaving them apart during the process? The answer should be: ?speak only when spoken to.?

In a study directed by J. D. Power and AssociatesforNetbase, most of the consumers between 18 and 54 years old wish that companies would listento their online conversations to answer their necessitiesbetter. Consumers want their favorite trademarks to pay attention to what is being said on the web when the time for developing a new product or service comes, but also they have encountered feelings about the appropriate type of online response.

40% of consumers under 55 years old feel that companies that listen online are interfering with the privacy of their clients. Consequently, in which way should the marketing people handle the expectations of the internet users without offending them? When the time comesto listen to what?s said in the social networks, page managers should only participate of a conversation when the comments are referred to the company. Users prefer that the brand remains silent until the discussion requires an expert?s response.

In conclusion, the people responsible for marketingmust publish on social networks, but not intrude in on the conversations that are not referring to the trademark. The important thing is to listen towhat?s said in order to inform this in future posts and share responses with the clients.

Source: Brafton (

The growth of the Service of Social Customer in Twitter

According to a recent study performed by the consultancy Simply Measured, 30% of trademarks that integrate the top 100 of Interbrand have a twitter account destined, exclusively, to offering Customer Service. This decision not only increases commitment of the brand with its clients, but also keeps claims and complaints of the users away from the main account of the trademark.

gr?fico twitter customer service1

Even if this data can be interpreted as a positive tendency, brands are still far away from getting the percentages of response expected from users. As the report shows, the average of response of customer care to all references, during the analyzed period (3 months), was 42%, and the best one was 75% for one account. Meanwhile, only 5 of the analyzed accounts kept the levels of response over 60%.

Also, the average time of response was 5.1 hours, too much to cover the expectations of Twitter users. And only 10% of the accounts had an average time lower than one hour.

Among the trademarks that registered the best timing of response, were Microsoft (0.7 hous), American Express (1.3 hours) and UPS (1.5 hours). While the last place goes to BlackBerryHelp, whose average time of response was 19.7 hours.

gr?fico twitter customer service2

The final conclusion of the analysis indicates that, with increasing demand of Customer Service, brands have more opportunities to grow and improve their image among consumers. However, in order to achieve this, companies will have to committo give a quick and suitableanswer for the request and expectations of their clients. The low performance on the response (the low percentage of tweets answered within a very extended time) has to do with the fact that big companies have not yet adopted advanced technology solutions, which allows them to solve this issue. Facing an increasing volume of inquiries that arrive through the social networks, brands will have to incorporate a technological service of high performance that allows them to face the demand in a quick and effective way.

gr?fico twitter customer service3

Sources:? Interbrand and Econsultancy?

Online Customer Service: interesting facts and figures

Last year, Oracle published the report Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012: A Global Perspective, made in order to compare the preferences of the users in regards to traditional customer service versus online customer service.

The investigation was performed over a universe composed by 3111 people with an active presence on the web, older than 18 years old and residents in 15 countries of North America, Europe and Brazil. The objective was to analyze the usage that these people gave to the different channels of customer service, among them: e-mail, 0800, FAQ, Click-to-Call and live chat.

The study launched four interesting conclusions:

- The longer the consumers are connected, the more they wait and value online assistance from the companies.

- Online assistance, including Click-to-Call and Click-to-Chat, are the three preferred options of customer service by the surveyed.

- Consumers prefer online support to phone calling because it allows them to do other things instead of investing that time in waiting on the telephone.

- On the topic of social networks, the surveyed manifested that their expectations exceed the marketing actions and promoting, and that they also expect to receive online support and direct access to experts in products/services through these channels.

Regarding social networks, 46% of the surveyed manifested that companies have to offer customer service through a fan page from Facebook, and the 17% pointed that they should also give support through Twitter.

As for the timing of response, 29% of the consumers on Facebook revealed that they expect to receive an answer within the following two hours of their post, while 81% of the consumers in Twitter said they expect that the company answers their tweets in the day.

This means that they assume online customer service is listening and participating of what?s happening in the social networks of the company. It is worth mentioning that when consumers obtain a satisfactory answer and on the expected time, they tend to become faithful clients and recommend the brand on these channels. Therefore, the ROI of the company in social networks obtains positive results given that satisfied users become spokespeople and defenders of the trademark.

oracle twitter


What bothers children online?

A month ago EU Kids Online published a new report: What bothers children online? Around 10.000 children said with their own words what bothers them and their friends on the Internet. Their answers were varied, revealing a long list of inquiries. Porn (brought up by 22% of the children) and violent content (18%) are the top online concerns of children. In general, boys are more affected by violence than girls, while they are more worried about the risks related with contact.

  • Content risks dominate children?s concerns: 58% identified in the first place the risks of porn, violent and other contents.
  • Risks related to behavior or contacts, along with others, were mentioned in first place by 42%.
  • Porn content follows in ranking of online risks named by children (22%).
  • Violent and aggressive content is the second most common concern identified by this group (18%). Although traditionally it?s associated with television and movies and, most recently, video games, it hasn?t been given enough attention to the existence of this type of content on the internet yet.
  • Many children worry about online content that is violent, aggressive or bloody. They revealed that they feel shocked and disgusted watching cruelty, murders, animal abuses and even daily news.

Gr?fico 1 bothers children The different risks identified by the children The most frequently named risks were porn and violent content: together they are the 40% of the risks mentioned first place by children. However, more than half of children?s concerns focused on other risks. In the following graphic, details are shown: Gr?fico 2 bothers children

  • Some of the risks that worry adults are rarely mentioned by children. Less than 1% mentioned some of the risks that frequently appear on the headings of the newspapers (for example, the danger of sharing personal information), whilst a few proved to be worried about the reputation damage or privacy violations.
  • Also, a little group mentioned the commercial content, excessive time spent on the internet, the access of strangers to personal information or gambling.
  • ?The danger of strangers? is usually vaguely mentioned (as ways of inappropriate contact), in spite of the concern this subject generates in the media.

Shared video sites lead the ranking of dangerous platforms More than half of children (55% spontaneously mentioned a platform or technology when they were asked about things that bother children their age on the internet (see graphic 3). Gr?fico 3 bothers children Sites of shared videos (such as YouTube, Redtube) were the most mentioned ? by 32% of the children that named a platform among the online risks that bothered their group. Web sites came second (29%), followed by social networks (13%) and games (10%). Children also manifested that web sites where videos are shared, frequently are associated to violence and porn content. The references of children regarding the risks grow significantly between 9 and 12 years old. Younger children are more concerned about the content. As children grow, they begin to worry more about behavior and contact. In the minds of children, these last are linked to the use of social networks like Facebook. In their own words ?What worries me is how correct information is on a website. You can also end up on a site where you don?t wanna be.? (Girl, 16, Belgium) ?Violence, child pornography pictures, religious sects, self-harm or suicide sites.? (Boy, 15, Greece) ?To take a photo of me without my knowledge and upload it to an inappropriate website.? (Girl, 10, Bulgaria) ?When strangers message me on the Internet, sex sites that open without me clicking on them.? (Boy, 10, Austria) ?Videos where older teenagers mistreat disabled children and upload the video on YouTube.? (Girl, 9, Italy) ?Some types of pornography, websites containing pictures/film of dead people or animals.?Entertainment sites that are racist and other things that are ethically wrong.? (Boy, 11, Norway) ?YouTube. The things that come up straight away as soon as you search for the website. Facebook?shows scary things even if you click on something that does not look or sound scary.? (Girl, 9, UK) ?Kids can be distressed when something they have read on the internet and believed to be true turns out to be fake.? (Girl, 11, Estonia) ?Propositions to meet from people whom I do not know, photos of naked people, bullying somebody or scenes showing homicide.? (Boy, 12, Poland) Source: EU Kids Online

10 reasons why companies invest in Social Customer Care

Applying a solid and effective strategy as a base, the service of Social Customer Care allows companies to:

  • Provide customer care that has quality, fast, personalized and efficient service for its clients through social channels (which is not the same as having a presence in the social networks)
  • Identify the actions of the competitors and construct a differential on this
  • Identify market opportunities
  • Measure the results of the marketing campaigns or launching of new products
  • Obtain feedback from the clients and use this information for future actions of the brand
  • Knowing the opinion that clients have of the trademark/product
  • Revert the negative image that users could have of the brand
  • Increase loyalty and commitment of the clients
  • Gain new clients through the positive references of
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    those who had a satisfactory response of the trademark

  • Construct an online community of influencers

social customer care