At Discord, we firmly believe that we must create change where we can or we are complicit in perpetuating white supremacy and the oppression of marginalized people. Last summer, Discord made a number of commitments to ensure that our service is not used for hate, violence, or harm. These were focused on combating hate on the service, using our reach and scale to promote justice, and ensuring we are hiring, training, and retaining underrepresented people.

Our work here is never done and it’s imperative we continue to hold ourselves accountable to being an anti-racist company. Though we have a lot of work left to do, we wanted to share some of the progress and actions we are most excited about, and we will continue to share more about our progress in these areas.

Combating hate on Discord

Hate has no place on Discord, but as most communications services do, we regularly have to contend with people using Discord to promote hate and to abuse others on our platform. As we’ve grown as a company, we are continuing to invest in our Trust & Safety and Policy teams, and explore new tools to combat this type of content. Our goal is and will continue to be to make Discord hostile to white supremacists, racists, and other groups who seek to use Discord for evil.

Earlier this month, for instance, Discord announced that we acquired Sentropy, an AI-based software company focused on fighting abuse and harassment online. Together with the Sentropy team, we are working to bolster our efforts to combat abuse and harassment on Discord, expand the technologies we use to identify and remove bad content, and continue to grow our team focused on these issues. Our combined efforts will allow us to continue to tailor our multilevel content moderation efforts so that they work for all of our communities.

Additionally, we’ve recently expanded our Policy team, which focuses on platform and public policy. The team will engage with consultants to audit our hate speech policy for gaps, bias, or potential improvements and will update the policy by the end of 2021.

Using our reach and scale to promote justice

As we said last year, as a platform used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, we have a responsibility to use our reach to help those who use their voices to advocate for change and support civic engagement and social justice.

We continue to explore ways to use Discord and our blog to raise awareness of anti-racist causes and encourage concrete action. For instance, we published resources to fight hate and discrimination towards the AAPI community, highlighted Black community leaders on Discord, and shared ways in which Discord is supporting the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.

Acting to train, hire, and retain underrepresented people

We strongly believe that to effect change inside Discord, we need dedicated focus and accountability on these issues at leadership level. To that purpose, in early 2021, we hired Emmy Negrin (they/them) as our new Head of Inclusion, Diversity, and Purpose. Emmy is building a team with a focus on equity and social justice to ensure our efforts are built into the fabric of our organization as we grow.

Transparency is necessary to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace — we can only improve if we know where we stand and are able to track progress. We are now regularly sharing data on employee demographic diversity with our full company. Though we haven’t shared this data externally yet, we plan to do so next year.

As a fast growing start-up, we are prioritizing hiring and scaling the team. At the same time, we want to ensure we’re hiring the most diverse and qualified candidates.

At the entry level, we are partnering with Code2040 for our first-ever internship program. We have brought on eight total interns through this program since June 2021 and will continue to invest in this program so we can create a strong and robust pipeline of promising BIPOC talent. We also have a partnership with Climb Hire, and are planning to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We will continue investing in additional partnerships to ensure we attract, train, and retain talent from underrepresented communities.

We are also actively exploring ways to recruit and train talent from underrepresented groups at all levels — not just entry level. In particular we are committed to increasing Black and Latinx representation at all levels, including in leadership, and ensuring more women are in positions of leadership, particularly on our tech teams.

In addition to identifying talent from underrepresented groups, we need to make sure our hiring processes are equitable, and that once new colleagues are on board, they are given the same opportunities to grow and thrive. We are working with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting partner to audit our hiring processes and provide comprehensive training concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion across the company. Bringing a sharp and holistic expertise to this work, our consulting partner will equip different teams at Discord with language, tools, and frameworks on how to be effective advocates and decision-makers.

We’re also introducing Balanced Candidate Slates for the majority of roles, including all management roles, in our hiring process. Our goal is to identify bias and pitfalls throughout our hiring process and look to bolster representation from historically underrepresented candidates at all stages of interviewing. We completed our first pilot of this process with our Product Engineering team this past quarter, and saw increases in the hiring of underrepresented talent. Looking ahead, we are planning to incorporate this program across the company.

Finally, looking at our team and our internal culture, we want to give BIPOC and underrepresented employees the resources to form communities, help local organizations, and advocate for change within our company. To that end, we are investing more resources into our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Our newest ERG, BAAM, focused on the Black and African-American community is now up and running, along with our six other ERGs (AAPI, Latinx, Women in Tech, PRIDE, Parent Trap, Jew-ish). Additionally, we have allotted all ERG leaders 10% dedicated time to running their respective groups to underscore that this work is as important as their normal job responsibilities. We are continuing to invest and grow our ERGs to reflect the diversity of our employees and the diverse communities we support at Discord.

Looking ahead

As we have said before, our efforts to combat racism will require time, resources, and sustained attention. We’re still in the early stages in these efforts, and we know we have a lot more to do. We’re committed to being in it for the long haul, and we will continue to keep you updated on our progress.