Discord is taking action in the wake of a hateful protest led by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.
The company announced on Twitter today that it shut down the altright.com server, one of the largest Discord servers notorious for its hateful content, and banned a number of the users active on the server. The company said it will continue to take a stance against “white supremacy, nazi ideology, and all forms of hate.”
In a statement sent to Polygon, Discord CMO Eros Resmini said the company will continue to be aggressive in its ongoing investigations into servers that violate Discord’s terms of service and promote hateful content or incite violence.
Discord was built to bring people together through a love of gaming and our mission is to connect positive communities who share this appreciation. We unequivocally condemn white supremacy, neonazism, or any other group, term, ideology that is based on these beliefs. They are not welcome on Discord. While we don’t read people’s private servers our Terms of Service explicitly forbid harassment, threatening messages, or calls to violence. When hatred like this violates our community standards we act swiftly to take servers down and ban individual users. The public server linked to AltRight.com that violated those terms was shut down along with several other public groups and accounts fostering bad actors on Discord. We will continue to be aggressive to ensure that Discord exists for the community we set out to support - gamers.
Polygon spoke to Discord’s CEO Jason Citron in June about the company and brought up the issue the team was facing regarding the alt-right. One of its more notable channels associated with the hateful movement, Centipede Central, was in the news for spreading a list of names belonging to anti-Trump activists. Citron told Polygon the team was aware of issues sections of Discord faced and was working closely with the security team to shut down servers. The issue, Citron said, came from Discord’s decision to let servers self-moderate. There are countless servers on the platform, and it’s impossible to keep an eye on each one.
In the wake of a rising, hateful ideology, however, Citron and his team are trying to change that. Further investigations will be launched into suspicious servers, and if Discord’s terms of service have been violated, action will be taken, Citron said.
According to Discord’s current terms of service and community guidelines, however, just admitting to being a Nazi or spreading racism isn’t enough of an offense to get someone banned. Both the terms of service and the community guidelines are below.
One of the more active alt-right servers, Centipede Central, frequently uses objectionable content, a screenshot from which is below. It includes people referring to themselves as Nazis. In other shots, including one seen just under that, there are users who admitted to marching in protests for the rights of white supremacists and outright hateful, racist content. Based on Citron’s statement, it would violate Discord’s new policy on what is considered inappropriate content.
Citron and his team are trying to change Discord for the better, with the company expecting to shut down more alt-right servers in the coming weeks and months. The team is aware of how its service is being used and, like other companies such as GoDaddy, is ready to take an active stance in the political discourse happening online.
Update: Discord confirmed to Polygon that the statement was attributed to Resmini, not Citron. The article has been updated to reflect these changes.