Discord — An Anatomy of Cyberbullying
The instant messaging social platform where toxic online bullying thrives.
I started using Discord a few years ago and didn’t have any issues. I launched my own private channel for my electronic music project LUCKYKAT primarily for fans, music producers and to raise awareness for mental health.
I then joined other music related Discord servers for networking and gaining knowledge on electronic music production. They were also primarily positive.
I felt as if Discord was exactly what I had been looking for — a stronger, deeper version of Slack.
Cyberbully Attack #1
Things changed dramatically when I joined the server of a Twitch community which had a strong bias towards gaming. Very quickly, I noticed the average community member was way too young to be on Discord (under 13 years old) and this meant that the conversations were filled with hate, negativity and toxicity.
There was zero accountability and the moderators did nothing. In fact, they were leading the spread of hate.
When I made a simple comment about the channel seeming toxic, one person fired an insult which attracted the server owner. Instantly highlighting himself as the cyberbully, the hierarchy was clearly well established. The second he came in with harsh words, his cronies jumped on them (and me).
Suddenly it was not a one-on-one conversation but rather me against 3 people. This escalated fast and suddenly there were 10 members rolling the hate filled snowball down the hill.
As I tried to defend myself, it only seemed to exacerbate the hate. The hyenas could taste blood and went for the kill. I was blocked from the server.
When I tried to message the people I had befriended on private messages, they ignored me and blocked me. The culture was clear — hate is promoted and hate wins. This was dictated by the leader of the server in the same way as a Founder/CEO decides the culture of the company in a startup.