CBS News has a hit piece out today on 8chan, Discord and of course Gab. In the segment that aired they describe Discord properly: as a neutral technology platform that happens to be used by some good people and some “bad” people.
Such is the case with every social network, Gab included, yet in the description of Gab CBS cites the hate organization the SPLC as a definitive source on our community. CBS did not reach out to Gab for comment on this story, instead they went to a radical far-left activist group that has smeared Gab many times as something we are not. CBS also uses content from another platform, Discord, to place judgement on Gab as a whole. Gab has nothing to do with Discord and nothing to do with any servers that mention Gab on Discord.
Journalism is dead. CBS is an activist organization working on behalf of other far-left activist organizations such as the SPLC. The mental gymnastics they pull in order to smear both Gab and 8chan, while putting pressure on Discord to ban any servers they deem inappropriate, is sickening.
“Is this 8chan discord?” asked an anonymous member of the gaming chat application Discord. The member was searching for the new home of the 8chan online community known for its extremist content, which included alleged postings from the two men who carried out mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and New Zealand.”
No, it’s a plush Discord for people who use 4chan and 8chan,” replied a regular Discord user.”Damn, I am fruitlessly searching for a place where 8chan refugees have flocked to but there isn’t much. Even the .onion thing is down,” chimed in a third user, referring to the “dark web” URL where 8chan retreated after internet providers blocked it from easy access.
Several members of the Discord chat group currently called “4/8Chan Plush Lewd” joined the discussion to explain that, due to high levels of scrutiny, new members had to be vetted first. Some Discord groups frequently change their names, making the discussions difficult for non-members to monitor.The comments touched off a winding discussion about what constitutes an “authentic” replacement for 8chan, a site where users encouraged others to “embrace infamy” and which has been linked to a number of mass shootings. 8chan owner Jim Watkins has stated he will keep the site offline until he can talk to Congress about the site’s future.
The House Committee on Homeland Security has requested he appear to address the proliferation of extremist content on 8chan.Discord, a social media service that allows users to chat in private groups, launched in 2012 and was developed specifically for video game players. As of May 2019, Discord had over 250 million users, including children and teens, and it is valued at nearly $2 billion.
Unlike apps like Instagram, Discord lacks a central news feed. Instead, users are clustered into private or semi-private groups that are typically accessible by invitation.Discord shares many of the same features that attracted users to 8chan, including anonymity and the ability to tuck toxic conversations into private channels. Much of 8chan’s appeal was that the website was easy to access and hosted dozens of unmoderated subgroups. Content often blurred the lines between innocuous and extreme: Users could easily tab between conversations about toys, video games, threats of violence and anti-Semitism.
Discord has similar features that allow users to quickly toggle between discussion groups. Many of these groups, referred to on Discord as “servers,” focus on benign topics like tips for playing Fortnite and Minecraft.But more disturbing discussions can be found there, too. Once approved by a group moderator, often a simple process requiring only a few clicks and minimal vetting, private rooms can open to reveal extensive conversations about white nationalism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and violent pornography, animal abuse, and sympathy for members of the Nazi party.
Discussions can occur in groups adjacent to, and often linked from, chatrooms for children about popular video games.CBS News found dozens of examples. One group, called Kool Kids Klub, was established by members of Stormfront, according to some participants. Stormfront is an openly neo-Nazi and white supremacist hate group whose members also allegedly posted to 8chan frequently.
In one Discord chatroom dedicated to fans of Gab, a social media website described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “white nationalist-friendly,” a user expressed support for “a few militia cells” ready to “pull off a coup” in the United States. “I have predicted this happening before Trump was even elected so don’t even try to to [sic] say that i’m just anti-Trump or i will literally kill you myself,” wrote the Discord user.In a similar group, members were encouraged to share the results of a personality test that compared individuals to Nazi party leaders. “I must say that I am proud to be similar to this beast,” said one member after sharing a photo of Nazi architect Albert Speer, who was convicted at the Nuremberg trials.
Other users in that group shared their affinity for Nazi minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels.After a spate of negative news stories in 2017 and 2018, including research conducted by ProPublica and the Southern Poverty Law Center that linked hate groups to Discord, the company strengthened its policies regarding extremism, illegal activity, harassment, doxxing, and violence on the platform.
Discord also banned a number of servers affiliated with white nationalists.Discord says it investigates and takes action when users report violations and that it also uses tech tools such as artificial intelligence to identify them.But Discord has had a tough time keeping up.