According to its latest transparency report, Discord says it deleted more than 2,000 servers for violent or extremist content in the second half of 2020. In total, it removed 2,212 servers dedicated to movements like the Boogaloo Boys and other similar groups, with its Trust and Safety team taking down 1,504 of those proactively. It also deleted more than 30,000 accounts for similar violations.
To put those numbers in perspective, the company removed a total of 27,410 servers and 266,075 non-spam accounts in the second half of the year. The number of communities it banned for extremist or violent content increased by nearly 93 percent compared to the first half of 2020. Discord attributes that jump to a more proactive approach on its part and the growth of extremist movements more generally. For instance, it says 334 servers had connections to QAnon. “We continue to believe there is no place on Discord for groups organizing around hate, violence, or extremist ideologies,” the company says in the report.
Once an app you used to chat with your friends while playing a game, Discord has since evolved into a place where you can find people hosting everything from book clubs to jam sessions. Moreover, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, people have flocked to the service. And with that growth, Discord has set its sights on mainstream success, rebranding partway through last year to make its service more approachable to non-gamers. The report and the actions it details come at a time when Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy the platform for more than $10 billion. Looking back at the history of these types of potential acquisitions, you have examples like Twitter. In a 2019 interview, former Disney CEO Bob Iger said Disney walked away from the deal in part because of all the “nastiness” on the platform.