Is Discord Spyware?

For a long time, online PC gamers had a serious problem. How to communicate with one another and get the game going. For a long time, gamers tried to scratch that itch with Skype and even other gamer-focused chat platforms like TeamSpeak or Mumble, but these didn’t really give them what they needed.

Then came Discord and pretty much wiped the competition out in a short manner.

What is Discord?

At first glance, Discord is similar to other VoIP and chat programs like Skype and to be perfectly clear, nothing is stopping you from using it as such. The only difference here is that Discord’s users are primarily video gamers, so it’s largely considered a platform for gamers.

In reality, however, you can join “servers” related to any topic and interest out there and hang out and chat with other people.

What separates Discord from other communication platforms out there is the wide variety of chat options it offers and the ability to combine the best of video chat and voice call platforms like Skype and the chat and direct messaging programs like Slack.

Is Discord Safe? I Heard That it’s a Spyware

Today Discord has 250+ million registered users, 14 million of which are active each day. 

Every day, 963 messages are sent on Discord.

As you can see by these numbers provided by the 20 Discord Stats and Facts report, Discord has a very active community, mostly consisting of young people.

As you can imagine, most people on Discord want to be able to talk to others without being monitored and spied upon.

Unfortunately, if you’re reading this, you might have already heard that Discord is a spyware. 

Is there any truth to this Discord spyware controversy and where it came from?

Well, it all started with this article on Neocities.org, which says:

Discord is spyware because it collects all information that passes through its communication platform. As Discord is a centralized communication platform, all communications have to go through Discord’s official servers, where all of that information can potentially be recorded. The vast majority of said information has been confirmed to be recorded, such as all communications between users. Discord has also been confirmed to use other spyware features such as various forms of telemetry. Discord’s main source of income is from investment, from which it has received over $279.3 million dollars. Discord cannot be built from source and the source code for Discord is unavailable.

The article also goes on to list the user data that Discord supposedly collects such as IP data, user email addresses, VoIP data, device UUID, text messages, images and so on.

As you can imagine, this has sparked a big debate on social media, like Reddit on whether Discord is spyware or not.

For instance, Reddit user u/MonsieurTank, who also works at Discord, provides several counter-arguments to some of the claims made in the Neocities’ article. 

If you want, you can read all of his counter-arguments on the subreddit here.

How to Make Sure Your Discord Data is Private and Secure?

So does Discord collect certain data? 

Yes, it does, but we can’t say that’s because it’s a spyware. For instance, voice chat programs need to collect your IP in order to work and Discord here is no different from other similar VoIP programs.

However, if you’re still worried about Discord collecting your data, all you need to do is to:

  1. Log in to your Discord account.
  2. Go to User Settings (click the gear icon at the bottom left of your screen).
  3. Open Privacy & Safety
  1. And then from here, check the “How we use your data” section.

What About the Parental Spyware for Discord?

Now, this is probably not something that many Discord users will appreciate, most of them being teens and young adults, but there’s a solid argument for parental spyware for discord.

First of all, Discord has no age verification system. Yes, Discord will ask you for your age, but you can lie about it and say that you are over 13. This means you can use it the same way if you’re 13 years old as well as if you’re 33 years old.

Next, there is a lot of adult content on Discord and not all of it is safe for children. There are plenty of NSFW servers on Discord that you don’t want teens to see. These servers contain pornography, nudity and that’s all readily available to under 18-year-olds.

Finally, there’s also the cyberbullying problem. Online harassment and bullying have become a huge problem on social media and as many as 36.5% of people have been cyberbullied at least once, according to Broadband Search

If we add to that that 95% of teens are connected to the Internet, per Pew Research Center and that more and more of them are using Discord, you can see why this can be a problem.

As you can see there are some legitimate concerns that parents can have if their child is on Discord. As a result, several monitoring apps have come out.

 One of them, for example, is iKeyMonitor. This app can monitor your child’s chat, record keystrokes and detect installed apps. In addition, parents can use it to block certain apps and games they deem unsuitable for their children and limit their screen time.

The question, however, is whether we should monitor our children’s’ every online step? Does this protect them in the long run? 

No, it doesn’t. Reading their messages, browsing their social media accounts, or even tracking their cell phones and generally watching them like a hawk, doesn’t protect them. 

In many ways, it only causes them to rebel and let’s be honest here, a lot of kids know more about the Internet than their parents, at least when it comes to the social media they are using (you probably think Facebook is still the “it social media network for young people”).

Conclusion

Is Discord spyware?

Despite the claims, Discord is not spyware, so you can relax on this.

However, can someone use monitoring apps to spy on your Discord account and activity? Yes, they can.

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