Brazil’s leading media UOL boosted user engagement by over 50% with AI.

UOL receives over half a million comments on a monthly basis, which proved manual moderation to be an outdated method to enhance the liveliness of UOL’s user discussions. As a result, UOL decided to implement automated moderation with AI. 

“We were positively surprised by the simplicity with which we were able to implement Utopia’s automated moderation solution. It has proven to be extremely beneficial for us. We are now able to pre-moderate 100% of the comments in real time, and only check a small percentage of the comments manually afterwards. This is a big cost-saving for us as we get over half a million comments a month.

Before, depending on the theme, the comments might have had to wait a considerable time in the moderation queue to be validated and published on the UOL page. Now, moderation happens instantly. As a result, we have seen a significant increase in audience engagement, for example, comments to our news articles have increased by over 50% in 6 months.”

Ricardo Fotios, Content Manager at UOL.


“Common moderation tools use natural language processing (NLP) based on rules and word lists, which ends up being a limiting factor. Often, those are originally developed for the English language, and have difficulties adapting to other languages. Utopia’s solution has the advantage of being language-independent, requiring only earlier human moderated data from us to develop a tailor-made statistical AI model, one that really works for us. We have found Utopia’s service to be of high-quality and trouble-free, and regular updates for the AI with new data are done by Utopia without any intervention from UOL.”

Daniel Kono, R&D Manager at UOL.

The case

1. About the client

Universo Online, commonly known as UOL, is a Brazilian online media house specializing in web content, products and services. UOL is one of the most visited websites in Brazil. It receives more than 98 million unique visitors and 6.4 billion page-views on a monthly basis.

2. Challenges & Goal

Receiving a massive daily visitor volume, UOL learned that manual content moderation was causing two problems: serious publishing delays that prevented smooth discussions among its users, and inconsistency in moderation quality due to subjective opinions. Therefore, they started seeking for an advance solution that could help accomplish their following goals: to eliminate delays, increase user engagement, ensure healthy and quality discussions, and most importantly, cost-saving.

3. Solution

After carefully reviewing all the possible solutions on the market, UOL decided that Utopia AI Moderator had the most suitable approach that could help achieve the goals set out. However, the only thing which concerned UOL was whether the tool could really adapt to the Brazilian dialect of the Portuguese language. As Utopia ensured the language-independence of the product, UOL convincingly went into the pilot phase.

4. Implementation

The implementation of the pilot phase was done seamlessly thanks to the effective communication from Utopia as well as UOL’s strong in-house capabilities. UOL tested Utopia AI Moderator thoroughly to make sure the tool worked well with their human moderator team, and well it did.

5. Roll-out

The next phase started right after the fulfilling pilot phase. Utopia AI Moderator kept on working side by side with UOL’s human moderator team. At the same time, UOL provided Utopia with new sets of human decisions for AI to learn and re-train itself for better and up-to-date performance.

6. Results

Utopia delivered as promised. All comments on UOL’s platform are now moderated in real time. Out of which, UOL chose to send less than 10% to its human moderators for further check, which is a very low workload for the moderation of news comments. This has resulted in a much livelier comment section, with most comments published immediately. Utopia AI Moderator also proved to be extremely valuable especially when the volume peaked as breaking news were discussed. Within 6 months, UOL marked a 50% increase in its volume of comments, and moderation workload dropped significantly.

About UOL

UOL was founded in 1996 in São Paulo, Brazil by Grupo Folha – the second largest media group in Brazil. Throughout the years, UOL expanded massively to become the world’s largest Portuguese speaking portal with more than 1,000 news sources and 7,4 million pages.

Apart from being a major online news provider for the Portuguese-speaking audience, UOL also offers apps for smartphones and tablets, such as Placar UOL, UOL Cotações, UOL Notícias, among others, and together have already reached 25 million downloads. In addition to the news content, UOL also offers the most complete platform of internet products and services.


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