Being a free voice, video, and text-chat app on the internet, Discord has been the number one platform of communication for people, primarily gamers all around the world. With an intuitive user interface, colorful appliances, and many tools to express yourself creatively, Discord seems to be the perfect app for gamers worldwide to communicate.
Nowadays, it’s really rare to find someone who hasn’t heard of the mass communication app known-as discord. The popularity can be backed up by its staggering user base, which consists of a staggering 250 million registered users with around 850 million messages being exchanged on a regular basis, that too, not counting the minutes spent on group voice and video chats and endless conversations from various groups. The app is often deemed as one of the must-have communication apps for your average gamer, since its user interface, UI, and everything is catered and crafted with mass communication between gamers in mind. But, believe it or not, there are people who actually exploit this ease of access and communication for their own, sick, twisted behavior and promote an unhealthy lifestyle, endangering people, specifically the inexperienced, innocent youth, in the process.
So, is Discord the one to blame, or are they actually the victim of something even darker? In this article, we will explore the quote-unquote “Dark” side of Discord, and try to understand what’s actually happening.
The Dark Side of Discord
Debuting about seven years ago, back in 2015, Discord delivered a redefined way of online communication that’s simple, easy, and intuitive. But the thing about being easy and available is, that it often, if not always, attracts the wrong kind of attention. And with that natural occurrence, Discord itself fell “Victim” to a lot of controversies, ranging from promoting violence to downright sexual deviance. But what made a social media platform that was designed to bring people under one banner in terms of easy communication face such a big level of controversy, can we actually blame Discord, or is there some other dark faction acting as a puppeteer?
If you’re not already aware of it by now, unlike Facebook or other major social media platforms, Discord is almost considered a safe haven for questionable and downright bizarre content in the name of memes and “Dark Humor”. Content such as jokes about 9/11, memes that promote and encourage racism, and, most concerning of them all, a safe place for you to dish out death threats to someone without any consequences make this platform dangerous, especially to adolescent teens who don’t know any better and are often puppets who blindly imitate whatever they see.
This happens mainly because of the free and easy service discord provides that’s so easily accessible that anyone who has access to a mobile device and the internet can get access, unsupervised. With this access, the users can talk to their friends, or downright strangers in real-time through voice chat, texts, or even video calls. This opens up a rather risky line of communication, since, like every other online platform, Discord too has predators prowling around the shadow, just waiting to make a move under the guise of a fake username and identity. And even if you identify and block the ID, it’s relatively easy to get back at it by using another name, another ID, and whatnot. It’s scary how simple all of this is.
Making a debut about seven years ago as a platform to unite gamers all under one platform, Discord made it big and scaled with the rise of massively popular video games such as Fortnite.
While the topic of these groups can range from anything from college homework to even bird-watching, according to Discord, their biggest sector consists of gamers from all corners of the world. And if you know anything about the online gaming community on even the most basic level, you know that this is one of the birthplaces of wildly imaginative racial slurs, gender-based comments, politically incorrect and misinformed memes, and shaming in general.
According to the users, anyone who’s anyone can create a chat group Discord likes to call “Servers”. On paper, you’re supposed to be at least 13 years of age to be eligible to use the service, but for some weird reason, Discord does NOT check or verify the age when you sign up. When you see the official discord servers from renowned games such as “Call Of Duty” or “Fortnite”, you’ll see how those specific servers maintain a strict polity regarding age. But, with the ease of access and intuitiveness, it’s a matter of seconds to come up with a secondary, invite-only server on Discord.
Addressing this issue, Discord’s marketing chief Eros Resmini said “We will not go into a private server unless something is reported to us. We believe deeply that privacy is a right and something we should support as a company.”
While we do agree with what he said, for the most part, does the concept of privacy really apply to teenagers who can’t differentiate between right and wrong even when it stares them in the face?
Now, to clarify, we are not suggesting Discord is any worse than the countless number of chat platforms out there, but it definitely has one of the biggest impacts. Facing the facts, the internet is everything but a people-friendly place, and when you give the masses, regardless of intellectual barriers or confinement, a place to express the most vivid and varied part of imagination, unrestricted from ethical binds, you’re bound to see stuff that goes well beyond what normal people would consider “inappropriate”. On the flip side, Discord is not all bad, since it does have a lot of servers where users are actually respectful and will help you out regarding a lot of things, be that assisting you in your school or college project, helping you out in a video game, or just to make friends. But considering how discord does NOT monitor how their servers are being used to promote unethical activities such as doxing, spewing political propaganda, encouraging racial slurs, and pretty much encouraging violent behavior through the use of video games, it is definitely giving the concept of communication and free speech a bad name.
This in itself wouldn’t be that big of a concern, if Discord was primarily used by adults who know what to expect from the darkest corners of the internet. But when considering adolescents who don’t possess the ability to understand what’s good and what’s bad, Discord puts them in a very delicate situation where a single, misguided click can take them to a place that will scar them forever.
Countless such cases are already under investigation, and the alarming rate of its spreading is nothing less than a threat, especially to the simple-minded, curious kids who just want to play a few harmless games of call of duty or Fortnite, as unbelievable and unlikely as it sounds. As much as we love and promote the idea of unbound expressions, proper measures are necessary when the children are involved, and if Discord doesn’t do anything about it, even darker days are creeping in slowly, but surely.