What is Discord, the gaming app behind Jack Teixeira Pentagon leaks?

April 14, 2023

As Jack Teixeira, the US air National guardsman accused of being the Pentagon Files leaker, faces his first US court hearing over allegations that he posted top secret intelligence files on Discord, we explain what the video game chat app is and how it works.

What is Discord?

Discord is an online chat platform mainly aimed at gamers.

Users can register for free, after which they have access to text chat channels as well as voice and video chatrooms.

Users can also live stream games that they’re playing for each other to watch.

The platform also has a subscription option called Nitro.

Nitro users can get access to more features, such as a larger selection of GIFs, than free users.

Subscribing also means users can upload more, and larger, files.

Paying subscribers can also “boost” each others’ forums to unlock new customisation options.

Users must be aged 13 or over.

How does Discord work?

Discord is split into individual forums called servers. Each server is created and moderated by users.

Each server is broken down into themed channels where users can post text comments, animated GIF files, images, links and more.

Server administrators can also create voice channels where multiple users can talk to each other.

Moderation is carried out by server administrators and trusted users given moderation powers within each server.

Discord itself controls access to accounts and can ban them if users break the site’s rules.

Users can also send each other private messages. The platform features blocking and spam reporting features as well.

How do I get access to Discord?

Discord works through a series of invites. Server administrators can generate invitation links that, when clicked, let new users join their server.

Sometimes these links are posted publicly so anyone can join a server.

In other cases – as with the alleged Pentagon Files leaker – servers can keep invites quiet, or refuse them to newcomers.

Discord is available as a desktop PC program as well as dedicated Android and Apple apps. Users can access it through a web browser too.

Who uses Discord?

Discord is mainly used by gamers to communicate with each other.

Many video game publishers create Discord servers as a focal point for communities of gamers who play their titles.

These are typically used as a place for marketing announcements or for hosting online events such as question-and-answer sessions with developers.