Do you think Discord is on the side of free speech? Did you think you could post or send something on Discord and feel it would be protected by the moderators as long as you weren’t attacking another member or person?
The truth is, no social media sites are but let’s take a look at Discord’s policy as it relates to Freedom and Liberty.
Disclaimer – I Ain’t No Expert
See the disclaimer on my sidebar.
Also, I am far from an expert on or about Discord. Although I have used the app, my knowledge of the platform is minimal. It has never been one of my favorite methods of communication.
The Discord App/Platform
Without going into a whole “What Is Discord” preamble that I see on just about every article on every social site discussion, I’ll mention a couple of things.
First, Discord is a relatively seasoned platform, almost six years old, and a very successful1 social communications/chat and media app.
Second, Discord originally seemed geared toward gamers.
Touted by some2 as an “untraceable and privacy-oriented” form of communication, many with a “free speech” mindset either forgot or forgave the fact that Discord is a product of Silicon Valley and should not be trusted with anything you want to remain private. – None of the social media websites should be. If you put it online, you made it public – or at least made it accessible.
Freedom Of Speech And The First Amendment
As I said, I’m no expert, but the First Amendment is the legal protection of a God-given right. Free speech is very complicated, and the meaning varies widely, from person to person. Sadly, freedom of speech seems to be less and less important to newer generations of citizens, but that’s for another discussion.
Can your right to free speech override the right of a private business to control what’s published on their platform or expressed within their building or property? See how complicated that can get?
What Makes Content Unacceptable?
All but the most extreme anarchists don’t want to allow child pornography to be posted, well, anywhere. But that’s a crime, right? So what about something a little less concrete, such as bullying? Bullying has been a huge trigger word for years, but what exactly constitutes bullying, and who gets to decide?
If I’m a thirty-year-old (I wish I was 30 anything again) harassing a child, that’s beyond bullying and probably shouldn’t be tolerated by society. Right?
If I’m an eight-year-old teasing another eight-year-old about them eating peanut butter sandwiches every day, many buttercups would call that bullying. That was called life when I was a kid and couldn’t afford to buy from the lunchroom and didn’t qualify for the hot-lunch program, but I digress.
What about two adults? Say a thirty-year-old keeps teasing another thirty-year-old for being a trump-tard, gay, or liberal? Is that bullying? Who gets to decide if we’re just on a social media site like Discord and not standing in court in front of a person society has given the right to decide? See how things quickly get complicated?
Who Decides What’s Allowed?
Half of society wants social media to keep things clean, and the other half wants things to be free and open. We keep hearing about Facebook, for example, allowing COVID-19 disinformation to be posted on their website by other media and some of our idiot representatives in the government.
Others, including me, think Facebook is WAY too quick to rip the tongue from anyone leaning to the right, loves guns, talks about freedom, or hates oppression. Who gets to decide if not Facebook? The government? The courts? Good luck, we see how well that fairs.
Should Discord ignore (the same as allow) the exploitation of malware? Pornography? Extortion? Personal Attacks? Doxxing? Spam?
What constitutes hate speech?
What’s the definition of extremism?
What defines an image as depicting excessive violence?
What about spreading disinformation? That’s bad, right? Well, two years ago we might say yes, but now we know yesterday’s misinformation is today’s accepted fact, in many cases. Right?
Every time I hear the words anti-vaccine, vaccine hesitancy, or anti-vax, I think about how crooked the government and media are, not how lies are being spread. But that’s me, it’s certainly not Discord or any of the big-tech giants.
What about adult content, flirting, strip club invites, adult movie hookup suggestions, insulting sensitive cupcakes, devil-worshiping, sexually suggestive role-playing games, gambling-related content, drinks that resemble alcohol, scams, hacking, playing with dolls as an adult, disseminating fake documents, cheating on taxes, public coughing, ignoring in-laws or distant relatives, promoting inappropriate content such as red meat, intolerance of governmental overreach, discrimination, violence toward naturally red-haired men, nudity outside the shower, intimidation by use of tickling, racial discrimination of fat people, hate group paraphernalia, extortion, anti-drug use support, the owning of deadly weapons, the making of ammunition, or harmful thinking. There’s a lot we need to police these days.
Discord Is 100% Onboard With Government ‘Guidance’ And Mainstream Consensus
Discord announced their newest policy updates on their blog on February 25, 2022, going into effect on March 28, 2022. The transparency is respectable, although the changes seem a little extreme – in my humble opinion.
At least when you look further at the linked pages on harmful misinformation and off-platform behavior (See below).
Sounds all well and good but, again, what is anti-vaccination content? What is considered ‘medically unsupported’ when thousands of health professionals, doctors, scientists, virologists – even the very person who invented the mRNA vaccine was censored, shut down, publically ruined, and discredited for going against the perceived status quo or dictatorial narrative?
Discord Even Looks At Off-Platform Activity For Censorship
We will now consider relevant off-platform behaviors when making policy and enforcement assessments. This includes membership or association with a hate group, illegal activities, and hateful, sexual or other types of violent acts.Discord Community Guidelines Updates February 25, 2022
Discord has publically announced that if they find specific off-platform behavior they consider harmful by a member of Discord, that information found will be used against the member in determining whether such member has violated Discord’s community guidelines.
We’re walking on dangerous grounds now. Not only are we risking virtue signaling in the form of groupthink3, but we’re also potentially accepting a narrative pushed by so-called authoritative sources being controlled, manipulated, coerced, or even purchased by agenda-driven tyrants.
Wrapping Up – Discord And Free Speech
I’ll finish by saying Discord not only isn’t (blogger double-negative exception) a tool used for free speech, but we also have no right to expect as much. Discord is a business. Moreover, Discord is a Silicon Valley company, and we understand exactly what side of Freedom such companies stand. This is no surprise.
With that said, I envy no company or website charged with the responsibility of policing good and bad on their websites when content is created by others from every conceivable walk of life.
You’re never going to please everyone, and you’re always going to lean toward your pathetically sheltered upbringing enhanced by your lack of understanding and out-of-touch ideologies.
Don’t fret Discord, you were doomed to support totalitarianism from the moment that first venture capitalist dollar was deposited. You sold your soul for immense wealth and a small piece of domination. Worse deals have been made.
That was fun. See ya, Brian
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The sun is behind the blue star tomorrow. I repeat, the sun is behind the blue star tomorrow.
- Curry, David. “Discord Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022).” Business Of Apps, 11 Jan. 2022, https://www.businessofapps.com/data/discord-statistics/.
- P., Anton. “Discord Privacy and Security Problems to Watch out For.” AtlasVPN, 23 Sept. 2020, https://atlasvpn.com/blog/discord-privacy-and-security-problems-to-watch-out-for.
- Mar, Anna. “12 Examples of Virtue Signaling.” Simplicable, 30 Dec. 2018, https://simplicable.com/new/virtue-signaling.
Brian D. Hawkins is a late-blooming thought leader in his mind. So please don't disturb his happy thoughts. It's all he has.
Brian D. Hawkins has been a blogger for over twenty years, having written thousands of public articles on dozens of websites. He currently blogs for NextStepSurvival.com and his personal blog at TheOpinionBlog.com.
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