What Is Discord And Why Should You Care?
Discord is a voiceover IP and messaging program, particularly used by members of the popular game streaming platform, Twitch.
Discord’s user interface looks like a cross between Skype and Slack. It’s completely free to use and is available as a web, mobile, and desktop application.
Within Discord, users can create their own servers and host private, password-protected, or public channels within those servers. Channel moderators then send invitations to users in order for them to join a channel.
Is Discord Just for Gamers?
Although it was originally built for the gaming community, its versatile chat, video, and voice capabilities have drawn in a diverse mix of 200 million users since Dec 2018.
Discord is now used as a method of communication between groups of like-minded people with varied interests. Discord users can join “servers” which can be public or private and tend to focus on a single topic such as DIY or anime.
Privacy and security
Discord has been criticized for being vulnerable to attacks from cybercriminals, and the privacy and security of the platform have often been called to question. Discord has been forthcoming in its educational content, encouraging its users to take extra security measures with their accounts.
Beyond security issues, the conversations taking place on Discord have evolved to include adult, narcotic, or NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content. Although some chat rooms advertise as an “18+ Community, all that is necessary to join these communities is to click “Join Server”.
Much like any other online forum, there is also a risk of cyberbullying on Discord. Server administrators have the ability to remove individuals who are initiating unsavory language or behavior.
A Controversial History
In 2016 and early 2017, Discord became popular with the alt-right movement, due to the ability for groups to remain anonymous and private. During the “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville, VA in Aug 2017, it was discovered that Discord had been used as a planning tool for rally organizers. Discord has since shut down several servers that appeared to be supporting this movement and banned these groups from the service.
Why is Discord Data Important?
People sharing on public channels in Discord are often using these channels to discuss illegal activity and more specifically narcotic use. Contrary to many sites on the deep and dark web, the content is less focused on buying and selling, and more focused on information that provides social and cultural innuendos about usage.
Many Discord users openly discuss certain drugs, inquire about others' experiences, and instruct each other on how to make specific drug cocktails. In the event of a public health emergency such as an overdose, it is extremely valuable for emergency responders to access this open data. It is an important place to gather clues about what substances and other factors may have been involved.
About Echosec Systems
Echosec Systems provides security and intelligence teams with enhanced access to a wide range of social data in real-time. Their web-based software and API are trusted by global teams to deliver timely, relevant data to improve situational awareness on the ground and inform initiatives like geopolitical risk assessment, counterterrorism, disinformation monitoring, and crisis response.
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