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Discord says it’s banning millions of accounts to tackle spam

Discord says it’s banning millions of accounts to tackle spam

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The stats were revealed in its latest transparency report

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Discord banned 5.2 million accounts between April and December last year, the company revealed today in its second transparency report. The most common reasons for account bans were spam and exploitative content, which includes nonconsensual pornography (so-called “revenge porn”) as well as sexual content related to minors. 

The report reveals a stark difference in the kinds of violations that most users are likely to report, versus the actions that are most likely to get people and servers banned. The most common reports Discord receives from users relate to harassment, however only a relatively small proportion of these reports actually result in action being taken. Discord says that in many cases it will teach people how to block the offending user without taking any further action.

There’s a stark difference in the most common reports and the most common reasons for a ban

On the other hand, exploitative content makes up just 6.7 percent of reports, but lead to the second highest amount of bans. Part of the reason for this is that Discord is much more likely to take action after receiving one of these reports, but the company says it’s also taking a much more proactive approach to removing it. Discord scans every image and video uploaded to its service and uses PhotoDNA to match it to known child sexual abuse material. In the majority of cases, this approach means that offending servers can be removed before anyone reports them, Discord says.

Spam was one area where there were a consistently high number of both reports and bans. It was the third most common report type, had the highest action rate out of all reports, and resulted in the highest amount of bans. Discord says it’s much more likely to take action on spam reports because they typically affect a large amount of users, and they’re easy to verify.

Although 5.2 million sounds like a lot of bans to hand out, it’s just a fraction of what Facebook revealed it removed in its last transparency report last year. The company said it removed 54 million pieces of violent or graphic content, over 10 million posts containing hate speech, 5.7 million posts that violated its bullying or harassment policies, and 18.5 million pieces of exploitative content. Then again, with over 2 billion users compared to the quarter of a billion Discord had as of May last year, the disparity isn’t a huge surprise.

Discord released its first transparency report last August, which covered the first quarter of last year. Going forward, Discord says it expects to release reports on a semiannual basis, with its next report coming in August.

Correction: This story originally stated that Discord had 250,000 users as of May last year. It actually had 250 million. The Verge regrets this error.

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