A small but important change to Discord’s terms of service has big ramifications for users. The social app’s terms now include a class waiver, which would prevent participation in larger lawsuits. It’s supposedly meant to prevent frivolous lawsuits, but if you want to protect your consumer rights, a simple email will opt you out of the policy.
The change was included in Discord’s October 16 update, adding a small “class waiver” section to the terms of service. “Discord and you agree to resolve any dispute will be brought in an individual capacity, and not on behalf of, or as part of, any purported class, consolidated, or representative proceeding,” it states. The section notes that these proceedings would be handled by an arbitrator but does not specify who. In essence, this section says you agree to settle any issues with Discord one on one using that arbitrator instead of, say, suing. Since that arbitrator could be a firm hired by Discord, it might not be in your interest to adhere to the policy. And while there’s room for debate about whether or not terms of services can disempower you like that, it pays to play it safe.
The good news is that Discord allows you to opt out by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org saying that you withdraw. You have 90 days to do so, and should make sure you’re using the email associated with your Discord account.
The waiver did not go unnoticed by users, who raised concerns on social media sites like Twitter and Reddit. It prompted a clarifying response from the company.
“I want to be clear that we’re not doing this to dodge responsibility for anything,” a Discord representative said on Reddit. “We believe in doing right by you, and we take feedback into account (see the recent Nitro Classic changes). The reason that there’s a arbitration agreement in our Terms of Service is that there have been a continuously increasing raft of class actions and firms that look for companies that are susceptible to class actions.”
Discord just launched the Discord Global Store beta, where users can purchase games. It is also updating its Nitro subscription service to include free games for subscribed users. The app’s expansion opens it up to greater liabilities, which may have prompted the change in terms. For now, to ensure that you have as much power as possible as a user, you should consider sending a quick opt-out email before time runs out.