Discord, a social messaging platform popular with gamers and fan communities, has recently become the focus of national security news. The 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guard airman Jack Teixeira was arrested last week for leaking classified documents in connection to the Ukraine war on a Discord server. 

Given its heightened visibility, CivicScience gauged how American sentiment on Discord has changed since the last time we reported on its data. Compared to last September, those with experience using the platform have increased by one percentage point, among U.S. respondents ages 13 to 54. Intenders have fallen five percentage points – but perhaps that’s because some in this camp have now tried Discord and stuck around or decided it’s not for them.

What impact might the leaked documents have on public perception of Discord? As you might expect from the mechanics of the platform – a place where millions of strangers are brought together by common interests to chat – Discord fans 18 and older are drastically more likely than all U.S. adults to trust strangers ‘a lot’ (11% for Discord fans, compared to just 3% for the Gen Pop). Despite any associations that might be made from the latest leaks, Discord fans are also significantly more likely to trust media (13%) or politicians (12%) ‘a lot’ than the Gen Pop (5% and 3%, respectively).

While apps like Discord might scratch the itch as an alternative to Twitter for those seeking online connection, it doesn’t look like the primary escape hatch for those who’ve left the app. Among Discord users, just 4% have stopped using Twitter altogether since Elon Musk took over and 1% are using it less than before – both below the Gen Pop averages (10% have stopped using it altogether and 7% are using it less). That said, nearly one-quarter of Discord intenders are using Twitter less since Musk’s stint began (compared to 7% for the Gen Pop), so that could represent a significant growth opportunity.

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