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On October 6, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) announced its finding that Discord, a social media platform that provides text, voice and video communication services via desktop, browser and mobile applications, is not an online service directed to children as defined by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and CARU’s Guidelines for Online Privacy Protection.
Discord is popular with gamers who play multiplayer video games. CARU identified during its routine monitoring of child-directed content that a number of Discord channels feature games with a significant number of players under 13, including Fortnite, Pokémon Go and Roblox. Many YouTube influencers with large teen and tween followings also have channels on Discord and encourage viewers to visit them. Concerned about the potential for an online audience of children under age 13, CARU considered whether the online service would be “child-directed” under COPPA and CARU’s Guidelines.
When CARU initially reviewed Discord, it found that, in order to register for an account, a user must supply an email, username and password. Discord did not ask for the age of the user. If Discord were in fact directed to children under COPPA, CARU was concerned that Discord collected and allowed the disclosure …
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