Discord Is Getting Newfound Attention Now That Elon Musk Owns Twitter

Discord Is Getting Newfound Attention Now That Elon Musk Owns Twitter

We’ve entered the timeline where the world’s richest troll, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has bought Twitter. The deal, which ran him a cool $US44 ($61) billion, will pretty much give the tech bro free rein over the Bird App. Now, he can “authenticate all humans” like he intends to, pushing us ever closer to our seemingly inevitable dystopian future. Many folks online were upset by this buyout, with some saying the news would motivate them to ditch the bird’s nest for good.

In the wake of Musk’s purchase, conversation on the app turned to where people flying the coop might go, and one name was floated as a viable alternative more than any other. Discord, once seen as a niche messaging tool primarily for gamers, began trending on Twitter as many advocated for a mass exodus to the platform. Whether such an exodus actually manifests or not, the chatter indicates that perceptions around Discord have shifted, and that the app might be poised for a mainstream breakthrough.

Discord had humble beginnings. Launched in 2015 as a modern take on old-school chat rooms like ICQ and those once found on AOL, the instant messaging app was built for gamers to talk games with other gamers. Servers are divided into different channels or chat rooms dedicated to specific topics, like Elden Ring speedrunning for instance, and depending on a server’s settings, often the only way to join one is if a moderator invites you to it. This somewhat closed-off, community-oriented structure contributed to the perception that Discord was a gamer’s app, though once the pandemic hit, it saw a huge spike in popularity, and clearly not just among gamers.

By mid-2021, the platform had as many as 150 million monthly active users. Of course, people were playing video games more — hello Animal Crossing — and the pandemic saw more people using Discord to play tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons remotely as well. But Discord’s usage was also expanding well beyond gaming-centered circles. After all, folks were locked indoors, and Discord’s a great way to keep in touch with friends over long distances. It’s an even better method to organise communities around niche topics and subcultures you care about, gaming-related or not.

Twitter, on the other hand, is just different. Originally built as a microblogging platform to share “what’s happening” in your world with anyone who follows you, it’s since grown into a space for both advocacy and bigotry to proliferate. Musk’s complicated history of mocking pronoun usage and clamping down on Tesla dissent have left many wary of how this free speech absolutist” might run the Bird App. And now that Musk has scooped Twitter up, some believe he will make the platform worse in the long-run. There’s even some discussion that banned racists and far-right extremists like Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos could be replatformed under Musk’s regime, which doesn’t bode well for marginalised queer folks like myself.

As such, there was lots of chatter online around Discord serving as a potential safe haven from the gremlins lurking in Twitter’s digital shadows. Some folks support the idea of moving to the instant messaging platform, saying Musk is liable to “fuck up” Twitter’s usability. While Discord can be overwhelming for those who want to be active in many communities, it seems some folks, at least, would take the closed-community aspect of Discord over the shouting-in-a-public-square vibe Twitter regularly gives off.

Still, Discord isn’t without its own issues. Many chastised the app’s servers as “walled gardens” in which harmful rhetoric can — and often does — fester. There’s also the problem of supporting artists, many of whom use Twitter as a way to get their creations in front of people and monetise their content. In many fundamental ways, Discord and Twitter just aren’t the same and don’t fill a similar hole.

Kotaku has reached out to Discord for comment.

Despite the back and forth over whether Discord is the new Twitter, the chatter cements the instant messaging app into the mainstream. Twitter is often called a public square, and Musk believes it’s “the digital space where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” If folks are talking more openly about migrating to Discord, it might be a matter of time before celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and the like start their own servers.

 

Comments

  • Worst case scenario, some people will need to be become more familiar with the block and mute tools. Plus as I understand it there are blocklist websites that allow you to block everyone following any particular account with a few mouse clicks.

    • I think the worst case scenario is that without moderation, the sites content will become unattractive to twitters actual paying customers. And if the “woke” demographics (like tertiary educated people with higher incomes) leave, then targeting them will provide an opportunity for other platforms.

      A moderated brand safe (ish) environment and it’s left leaning userbase is actually twitters *product*. The current partisan political rhetoric associated with the deal is openly hostile to twitters main asset and business model.

      It seems quite high risk approach, especially when Twitter is already barely making even.

      • You talking about the same current moderation that banned Trump for “fear of inciting further violence”? Yet freely allows the spokesperson for the Taliban (Zabihullah Mujahid) to post, frequently? Yet freely allows official Russian Government accounts to continue to spread disinformation about Ukraine, during a current, violent, attempted invasion and takeover that they are undertaking? Should I go on?

        Yes… That does sound like the “moderated brand safe (ish) environment” that the left leaning userbase is attracted to.

  • Those sweet leftist tears.

    Seriously though, how fragile are people that the thought of having opposing views allowed again is causing this little meltdown? Also multiple lefty writers here need to get a life. ‘Seemingly inevitable dystopian future’? Cmon. Stop the Elon hate already. Even your former lord and saviour Jack Dorsey has come out saying he regrets how twatter ended up with the level of censorship and propaganda the platform is responsible for. Also in front of a government inquiry about a certain “conspiracy theory” that turned out to be true

    • No need to wet yourself in quivering anticipation quite yet. Musk has a long history of being long on hyperbolic promises but somewhat less so on delivery.

      • Also has a long history of delivering a sh*tload more than 99.9% of the human population by way of driving production and uptake electric cars, space travel, internet for remote areas, renewable energy in SA.

      • “No need to wet yourself in quivering anticipation quite yet.”
        I love it. Beautiful use of language.

    • Our grandfathers fought for the right to be offended by what other people said. Our current generation fight for the right to not be offended.

    • Yesterday an american conservative on twitter told me that someone should (and in fact would) kill me for expressing my views. Conservatives on twitter have been going nuts just based on the anticipation of the removal of moderation.

      I don’t think it’s going to work out the way any of you are hoping. Yet if it does, and the left and brands leave for moderated platforms, conservatives will demand unrestrained free speech on those too. The “town square” just seems to be where the left is. This exercise is about getting access to Twitter’s userbase. Conservatives have multiple alternate platforms where racism etc is okay.

  • Musk doesn’t own Twitter yet, he jas made a formal offer to buy it, it will takes months for the deal to move forward.

    FTC has already started an anti-trust investigation on Musk, that alone may kill the deal.

    Between now a d then, I am expecting the EU will be looking harder at their online safety policies and may present more laws to preserve content moderation and enforcement to keep people safe from harrassment and privacy.

    • All of this. Musk owns nothing right now, and there are many ways this can yet fall over, including his financing arrangements given that they are largely premised on the Tesla share price which has tanked more than 10% since the bid was drafted.

    • “content moderation” ie censorship.
      There is absolutely material that has no right to be on any platform, but discussions about politics and associated opinions should never be “moderated” because as twatter has shown, they moderate the side those who control the moderators don’t agree with. Which is why blm rioters got to use the platform to organise, support and finance their movement and those worried about sexualising kids under 10 with inappropriate content in classrooms and parents having no say over it (or idea about it) get banned. Or those telling “journalists” to learn to code.
      Moderation in its truest sense is what Elon is talking about. The protection of free speech so long as it within the bounds of the law. Silencing dissenting, legal opinions is not moderation which is why twitter has become such a huge leftist propaganda machine. It has been a tool to exert increasing levels of control over the global (though american centric) public in the last 2 years by shaping the discourse around public events and now even forms part of the news cycle. Who would have thought that social media commentary would be “news worthy”? When a platform is so pervasive and ingrained, the level of influence of those few who can control what is allowed, amplified or suppressed is massive. Right now, that power sits with the increasingly further left Silicone Valley, California. Seriously, how many “conspiracy theories” have been banned from discussion on the platform that are now held as credible or outright proven?
      Not only that, but you have Jack Dorsey who is remorseful about being part how this system and the level of damage it can cause has come about.

  • Nobody’s talking about how Elon, unwittingly or not, is a Chicom agent so long as he’s cowtowing to the CCP so he can get his Tesla gigafactory there? Strange. That would be a more obvious and immediate concern, considering it’s more likely than not he’ll compromise on his beliefs so he can maintain Tesla’s interests.

    Discord is a cesspool of groomers, alongside being run by furries who are into underage characters presented in compromising and otherwise non-consensual situations. Then there’s their ‘student hub’ initiative, targeted at highschool students. Discord is anything but a viable alternative or solution.

    The fediverse is where you want to go. A user-tailorable experience that isn’t controlled by any one company, and anyone (with the knowhow and effort) can set up their own social network service. Of course, it’s not controlled by a single big corporation that can be harassed or blackmailed into censorship, so mainstream media and the people who own it (*cough* Nine Entertainment Group and LNP agent Pete Costello *cough*) won’t mention it.

    • Going through this article’s tags, it’s even stranger that it’s never mentioned. If you’re going to attach the ‘alt-tech’ tag, at least do the bare minimum and mention the far-right bogeyman that is alt-tech.

    • With your post history I would have sworn you’d be more “revelling in leftist tears”. I was not expecting “Musk is a Chinese sleeper agent” so congratulations on keeping it interesting I guess.

  • ” Many chastised the app’s servers as “walled gardens” in which harmful rhetoric can — and often does — fester. ”

    lol, this read like people actually believing “I SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN ANY SERVER I WANT AND BAN ANYONE WHO DOESNT AGREE WITH ME”

    • I mean lets be real here, the people who believe in that state probably are also memebers of servers where topic dicussion is HEAVILY moderated and straying outside the groupthink will get you insta banned in the name of “Stopping hate speech”

      • I think you will find it very easy to get immediately banned from the main conservative reddit subs, as an example. Just post one counter argument or “leftist” position. Only takes one comment.

    • TL;DR

      These types want every platform that allows discussion to have moderation like ResetEra. That’s what they want, that’s their endgame.

          • seriously this website needs to go back to the format it had when Serrals took over as Editor, every update since then has been fucking dogshite

          • Eww I forgot about that.

            But I’d take it if it meant getting reply notifications and basic text formatting back.

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