Discord quietly changed ToS, clock is ticking for US users to opt out of arbitration

Discord changed its Terms of Service and the clock is ticking for U.S. users to opt out of the arbitration clause before being automatically opted in.

discord store nitro section
Discord

If you don’t log into Discord often, you might not have seen a notification across the top of the app warning you that the Terms of Service are changing. There was no email received, at least not by me, so it seems like Discord was trying to quietly make the changes, which would automatically opt you into losing your legal rights. If U.S. residents hurry, then they can still opt out.

If you’ve seen a screen stating, “It's time to ditch Skype and TeamSpeak,” then you’ve checked out Discord. In the three years and five months since the chat and VOIP app launched, the popularity of the platform has skyrocketed – and it’s not only gamers who use Discord. According to the latest stats from May 2018, Discord has 130 million registered users, 19 million of which use the platform daily, and 15 billion messages are sent per month. Whatever you use Discord for, you need to be aware that the company changed its Terms of Service; if you are a U.S. resident, then the clock is ticking for you to opt out of the new arbitration clause before you are automatically opted in.

Despite the originally short time limit to opt out and keep full legal rights, which had some people immediately suspecting Discord would soon announce a breach, the company claims the changes to prohibit class action lawsuits are due to the launch of the Discord store. The new additions to the ToS – Dispute Resolution and Class Waiver – are specifically aimed at users in the U.S. You are told to read the section “carefully” as “it may significantly affect your legal rights, including your right to file a lawsuit in court.”

Worry not, as there is a simple way to opt out; send an email to Discord, specifically send the opt-out email to arbitration-opt-out@discord.com. Although it has been suggested otherwise, you don’t have to add a lot of information to your opt-out email; simply request to opt out and send it from the email linked to your Discord account.

If you’ve heard differing times on how long you have to act, that is because Discord changed it.

An archived copy of Discord’s ToS, which was modified on the same day, October 16, stated that users had “30 days of this Terms of Service taking effect, or your account creation on the Service” to opt out. Additionally, the ToS changes were set to go into effect on October 23, 2018.

Discord’s current ToS, which was last modified on October 19, gives users 90 days to opt out of the arbitration clause and the ToS goes into effect on November 2, 2018. The ToS now states: “If you're signing up for a new account, purchasing a game, downloading a game, or subscribing to Nitro, these Terms apply to you. For everyone else, these Terms will go into effect on November 2, 2018.”

While Discord has previously explained in detail how it stores billions of messages, handles five million concurrent users and two and a half million concurrent voice users, the reason given for adding arbitration and class action waiver clauses to its ToS basically boils down to the fact class action lawsuits can be abused in the U.S.; the “clause was added because we are now operating a game store and subscription service for profit. Like many other companies, we are now a target for entities who wish to abuse the class action lawsuit.”

Discord apologized for not providing advanced warning that it was trying to quietly change its ToS, adding that it did indeed extend the time period to opt out from 30 to 90 days. The company claims users will not suffer a penalty for opting out. To be clear, the added clauses apply exclusively to Discord users in the United States. The company wrote, “If you are outside of the United States, this clause does not apply to you. This means users outside the United States do not need to opt out if they were wanting to.”

It’s not that such clauses are uncommon, it’s that Discord didn’t give any heads-up about the changes until users were so worked up that even staff replies were not having a calming effect. By that time, Discord had received so much feedback about the ToS changes that it finally blogged about it.

While it is highly unlikely you would ever want to sue Discord, why not take a minute to send an email to arbitration-opt-out@discord.com stating that you would like to opt out. It really is that simple.

Discord worded it as:

Your opt out doesn’t need any specific template or form. It just needs the request to opt out and it must come from the email associated with your Discord account.

We want to reiterate — you will not be penalized in any way for opting out of arbitration. Again, we encourage you to do so if you wish to.

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