Social Media Platform Discord Poses Hidden Dangers For Some Users
Discord users beware, some unsuspecting users may be at risk of being targeting by potentially dangerous individuals.
Discord, a popular chatting app, has posed an unimaginable threat to young users everywhere. As with any social media platform, adults can disguise themselves to chat with minors under false and devious pretenses. In one case, a mother residing in Washington found her young daughter conversing with an older man from across the ocean.
This mother, who remains anonymous, stated she didn’t know what Discord was until she discovered her daughter using it. The primary need for her daughter’s Discord account was to communicate with the rest of her high school band. This didn’t raise any concerns for the mother until she discovered an older-looking man in her daughter’s group chat. The man, stating that he was from England, started messaging her daughter privately, which led to an exchange of inappropriate pictures.
The mother looked through each message of her daughter’s Discord correspondences with the intruder, which led to more disturbing details. Alongside nude pictures, the man requested private information from her daughter, including photos of their family home. The stranger also wanted the daughter to show him what American school buses looked like, so she sent him photos she took of buses, streets, and even her friends. The stranger suddenly had a plethora of information about the daughter, which scared the mother significantly.
After erasing her daughter’s Discord account, the mother installed outdoor security cameras, worried that the stranger would try to find her home. Discord took six weeks to complete a full shut-down of the daughter’s account, even under frightening pretenses. Though all the messages are now deleted, the mother says she wished she’d gone about the process differently. For one, she didn’t have an opportunity to flag the messages, signaling to Discord that the messages were inappropriate. No further investigation was done by Discord, and the mother didn’t file anything against the company either.
This incident comes at a time when child-safety protections for online mediums are being discussed within the presidential cabinet. A bipartisan bill was introduced last month to legislators, which holds social media companies like Discord more responsible for protecting children while utilizing their platforms. Even Joe Biden made a statement about social media platforms’ inability to defend children, stating that tech executives are profiting from a “national experiment” on American kids.
Though many of these conversations focus on the threats of Facebook and Instagram, private messaging systems with a lesser following seem to fly under the radar. Though Discord is downloaded worldwide, it’s relatively unpopular in the United States, leaving many families unaware of its potential danger. A total of 79% of Discord users are outside the US, reflected in American lawmakers’ delay in reprimanding different private messaging platforms.
Discord’s low profile has concerned parents around the United States. Based on a conversation with various parental figures from CNN Business, certain schools’ unawareness of Discord allowed students to use it during class. One school that had blocked the use of Snapchat and Instagram recently discovered its students had been using Discord on the school’s WiFi. This pushed many parents to report illegal incidents to Discord, hoping the company could issue better privacy and child-protection services to its platform.