In order to protect the identity of the Discord Staff member involved, their identifying information has been redacted from the included evidence. We politely ask our readers to refrain from any form of doxing, brigading, or any such conduct which violates Discord's Terms of Service.
In this report, Discord News has analyzed the conduct of a leading member of Discord's Trust and Safety team, and uncovered shocking evidence of potential administrative abuse. We believe that it is paramount for all members of a service's Trust and Safety division to enforce that service's rules and guidelines in a fair and unbiased manner. Repeated failure to do erodes at the credibility of the service, and reflects poorly on the leadership of the service for allowing continued abuse to occur.
Over the course of the past year, we have uncovered evidence which leads us to believe that a certain trust and safety employee, hereafter referred to as Agent B, has abused their administrative powers for personal gain. Discord's Trust and Safety team has already faced backlash over an incident earlier this year concerning "furry corruption", per Newsweek. For reference, a community response to this incident is preserved on reddit. Now, we believe the Trust and Safety division is again abusing their power in favor of a special-interest community.
May 21, 2019: Nitro Boosting Begins
In late May 2019, Discord begins a graduated rollout of a new feature called server boosting. The "NotSoOwO" server was selected to be part of this initial rollout, and its community members quickly gave their support to the community. NotSoOwO achieved Discord's Tier 3 boost status relatively quickly, making it eligible for a vanity URL, which is essentially a specialized Discord Invite Link. (e.g., normal Discord invites take the form of "discord.gg/a6b03", a randomized link, while vanity invites appear like "discord.gg/news").
The NotSoOwO server, wishing to further its status in the furry community, chose "discord.gg/furry" as its vanity URL, and established new channels and guidelines to further solidify its status as a furry-friendly community. One measure NotSoOwO took to help ensure it remained a safe and inclusive space for furries was to hire new staff and moderators, and ensured that multiple members of the furry community were represented in its new moderation team.
As one of the first servers to achieve Tier 3 status, many Discord staff joined the community to join in on the action. Among that cohort was Agent B.
May 28, 2019: Vanity URL is revoked
On May 28, a competing furry community reached out to the owners of NotSoOwO and expressed interest in obtaining the "discord.gg/furry" vanity URL. Later that day, the vanity URL was revoked from NotSoOwO, and a server warning was issued to the owner via e-mail. No evidence of the alleged deception or harassment was included in the message – bear in mind, this message also demanded that the offending content be removed.
Note that at this time, the competing community was not able to claim the "discord.gg/furry" vanity URL. Discord Engineers blacklisted the URL from being taken by any community, likely to prevent the May 28 incident from being viewed as abusive.
September 12, 2019: Competing Community claims vanity URL
Up until September 12, the "discord.gg/furry" vanity URL remained on a blacklist, and the competing community was unable to claim it. On this day, however, Discord released a press statement announcing the removal of their game subscription service. To compensate for the removal of a key component of their $10 subscription plan, Discord increased the maximum file upload size for Nitro subscribers, and reduced the number of boosts needed to reach Tier 3 "by more than half – from 50 to 20."
On the same day this announcement was made, Discord secretly raised the blacklist on the "discord.gg/furry" URL, and the competing community was able to attain it with the new reduced boost requirement.
Agent B's involvement with the competing community
Our investigation reveals that Agent B has been a member of the competing furry community since as far back as February 2019 using what we believe to be an alternate account.
We have compelling evidence that this account is an alternate account for Agent B, as the account shares the username with their official staff acount. The image used for the alternate account's profile picture is identical to an image tweeted on the staff member's private twitter on the day prior to the above screenshot.
Furthermore, it is common practice in the furry community for participating members to comission artwork of their fursona, an alternate identity representing their character. The unauthorized use of someone's fursona and/or reproduction of their comissioned artwork is generally frowned upon in the community, and as such, if this account were an impostor, it is very likely that the moderation team in the competing server would have noticed and taken action.
October 29, 2019: Nitro Multi-Boosting Release
As covered in the previous article, the competing community fell short of the boosts required for Tier 3 earlier this week, and the "discord.gg/furry" vanity URL was released. On the afternoon of October 29, NotSoOwO reclaimed the invite.
After our article was written, the same owner of the competing community from the May 28 incident once again reached out to the owners of NotSoOwO. Only this time, they had the arrogance to claim that Discord Trust and Safety was "already looking into it" – namely, Agent B was already looking into it.
An hour prior to this DM taking place, join logs indicate Agent B re-joined NotSoOwO.
Through past experience, Discord News knows that such an expeditious investigation could not have happened via the standard support channels Discord offers. Generally, a response time of upwards of 24-48 hours is seen for minor issues such as these, with expedient responses only occuring when a threat to physical harm or life is made. As such, we believe that this expedient response was only made possible by a personal relationship between Agent B and the competing community, bypassing the official support channels and procedures.
Discord's Trust and Safety inbox receives over 800 reports a day, and has only a small team of employees who respond and investigate each and every report. It is improbable that Agent B, a member of the competing community, was not only randomly assigned this report, but able to expedite the report to resolution in mere hours. It is much more likely that the TnS investigation was opened via unofficial means, handled via unofficial protocol, and resolved via unofficial exchange. As such, there is a massive conflict of interest as it seems Agent B has abused his or her administrative privileges to expeditiously remove NotSoOwO's vanity URL and restore it to a community in which they are personally involved for the second time.
This evidence establishes the motive, means, and opportunity for a misuse of power.
Motive: Agent B is a long-standing member of the competing furry community, and has motive to act in the interest of said community. The vanity URL "discord.gg/furry" drives new members to whichever community it resolves to, and as a member of a competing community, Agent B would desire to help that community grow.
Means: Agent B is a member of the Discord Trust and Safety team, and has administrative privileges on the platform. Notably: the ability to remove vanity URLs from servers, manage the vanity URL blacklist on the platform, and issue community guidelines strikes against servers.
Opportunity: Agent B joined NotSoOwO shortly before both incidents in which the vanity URL was revoked. In both of these incidents, direct contact was provoked by the owner of the competing furry community.
Given the evidence above, Discord News suggests Discord's leadership investigate this matter seriously. Suspicious conduct undermines the integrity and hard work of not only the Trust and Safety team, but of all teams developing the Discord platform. We encourage members of the community to responsibly join us in a call for a prompt and transparent investigation into the matter. This is not the first time a conflict-of-interest has occurred with the Trust and Safety team, and we hope that through the proper investigation and disciplinary action, this will be the last.