Discord adds AI features, raises privacy concerns in the process

Discord announced plans to introduce AI features to the platform’s moderation, support and chat systems. However, the new features raise some concerns about user privacy.

The gamer-focused communication platform announced the AI features—which are more accurately machine learning than outright AI—in a blog post earlier today. The post, called “Discord is your place for AI with friends,” promises that the AI features will make things easier for people using AI, whether for chatting or moderating a group.

“Discord you can enjoy AI with friends,” the post reads. “Rather than just going solo with an app, you and your friends can see what sorts of exciting, wild and sometimes silly results come from prompts like ‘robo-hamster caught in cardboard box, renaissance painting.'”

Despite Discord’s optimistic, and at times downright cheery presentation, the reaction to the announcement was rather stark. Replies to the company’s announcement tweet are almost all negative. Users quickly realized that giving machine learning access to so many features poses a possible threat to privacy, especially as the company’s announcement was accompanied by changes to its privacy policy.

One post on Reddit pointed out that specific lines in the privacy policy where Discord stated that “We generally do not store the contents of video or voice calls or channels” and “We also don’t store streaming content when you share your screen” had been removed.

In response to the outcry, Discord has stated that it will not be storing any user content without their permission.

“There has not been a change in our position regarding recording user content. In the updated policy, we provided clarity to outdated language that might be confusing given some upcoming product enhancements and releases,” a Discord representative said to PC Gamer. “However, we want to be clear: Discord does not store or record user content without their knowledge.”

In addition, the original blog post was also edited its original post to clarify that Discord’s new AI efforts will take a “privacy-first and optional-only approach.”

The controversy comes just as Discord has expanded to yet another device. PlayStation 5 firmware version 7 finally allows players to chat with their friends from their PlayStation 5 consoles using the app. (Read: What the Sony Discord partnership means for gamers)

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Franz Co

managing editor | addicted to RGB | plays too many fighting games