Ever heard the expression “Third time’s a charm?”
For Discord, a three-peat Dirty Dozen List target, it’s turned out to be true!
For three consecutive years, this popular messaging platform has been named to NCOSE’s annual Dirty Dozen List, on account of facilitating child sexual abuse material, exploiters’ access to children, child exposure to pornography, and so much more. Now, finally, Discord has made numerous substantive safety changes that NCOSE requested!
This is a remarkable testament to the power of YOU joining us in calling for corporate accountability. Discord has been a bad actor for so long, neglecting to prioritize safety to any reasonable degree. Now, they are finally taking child protection seriously!
Updated Content Policies
When NCOSE wrote to Discord alerting them that they were being placed on the Dirty Dozen List, we provided evidence of various kinds of exploitative and harmful content we found on their platform. We urged Discord to immediately ban and remove such content. Now Discord has updated their content policies, to provide a very specific and extensive list of prohibited items. Almost every item under this new list is something NCOSE raised to their attention.
To name just a few highlights:
- Discord expanded their Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and Child Sexualization Policy to clarify that it encompasses “any text or media content that sexualizes children, including drawn, photorealistic, and AI-generated photorealistic child sexual abuse material” or links to websites that contain such material. This is extremely significant and laudable, especially considering the alarming rise in AI-generated child sexual abuse material! It is an industry-leading policy, and we hope all corporations will take note and follow suit.
- Discord banned “Inappropriate Sexual Conduct with Teens and Grooming,” including sending or soliciting sexually explicit content to/from a minor, participating in sexual conversations with a minor, sextorting a minor, attempting to meet a minor in person for sexual purposes, and more.
- Discord also banned teen dating servers, given the high risk of exploiters accessing minors these servers.
- And much more!
Higher Safety Settings On by Default
For the past three years, NCOSE has been explaining to Discord the importance of “defaulting to safety”—that is, having the highest safety settings on by default, rather than expecting the youth that use their platform to navigate through complicated settings in order to find protections. Now, Discord has defaulted server settings to a higher level of safety (though not quite the highest) by requiring all users to have a verified email address and be a Discord member longer than five minutes to send chats and interact within the server. This feature will help prevent banned users from simply creating additional unverified accounts to circumvent the ban.
New Family Center With Parental Controls
NCOSE has been pushing on Discord to implement parental controls for the past three years. And now they have!
Discord’s new Family Center provides opt-in parental controls, meaning teens must elect to let their parents use the controls. If the teen opts in, parents will be able to view:
- Recently added friends
- Servers their teen joined or participated in
- Users their teen messaged or called in direct group chats
Parents will not be able to see the content of their teen’s messages.
Parents will also receive a weekly email summary with high-level information about their teen’s activity on Discord. Learn more about Discord’s Family Center here.
While NCOSE is thrilled that Discord had finally implemented parental controls, we are encouraging them to reconsider the opt-in model, as it will leave many parents helpless to protect their children if their child does not elect to use the controls.
THANK YOU, once again, for joining us in calling Discord to account! These changes have happened because of YOU, and it’s safe to say that they will impact millions of youth.
If you have not already, please visit the 2023 Dirty Dozen List and sign the quick, easy-to-use actions we provide for each of the targets. This is the mechanism through which we are achieving corporate change!