It’s more fun to compete with your friends on CS:GO or Apex Legends if everyone is on the same instant messaging platform. For lots of people, having a platform to joke around, chat in general, and stream gameplay for friends is a crucial part of the game. If you’re a big fan of online games, you’ve probably already used Discord, which over the years has become the go-to communication channel for gamers. Some games and gaming platforms have their own Discord servers for finding teammates, contacting tech support, or just chatting.
As you might guess, though, it’s not only people with a shared hobby who are drawn to large communities; scammers, spammers, and trolls turn up as well. And if you don’t take care of your privacy and security settings beforehand, they can ruin the fun of playing or chatting on Discord. Here’s how to set up the messaging service properly.
Where to find the security and privacy settings on Discord
All of the options we need here are in the User settings menu. Click the gear icon underneath your list of friends and chats to open it.
How to protect your Discord account from hijacking
First, let’s deal with account security. If you have a simple password, set a new one — preferably a very long one (not sure how?). It helps to include numbers, a mix of capital and lowercase letters, and special characters, but length is the most important thing.
To change your Discord password on your computer:
- Go to My Account;
- Click Change Password;
- Enter your old password, then the new one;
- Click Done.
The process is a bit different in the mobile app:
- Swipe the current chat to the right. Then, in the bottom menu, tap on your avatar;
- Select Account (iOS) or My account (Android);
- Tap Change password;
- Enter your old password and the new one;
- Tap Save.
Now hacking your account will be a lot harder!
How to set up two-factor authentication on Discord
To lock out cybercriminals, turn on Discord’s two-factor authentication. That way, when you log in to your account, Discord will request a one-time code from you. You can use an authenticator app such as Authy or Google Authenticator. You’ll need to have the app installed on your smartphone or tablet, but it may come in handy for protecting other accounts as well.
On a computer:
- Go to My Account and click Enable Two-Factor Auth;
- Launch the authenticator app and scan the QR code from the screen, or enter the code manually;
- In the Login with your code field, enter the six numbers the authenticator gives you and click Activate.
Done! You’re now protected. For safety’s sake, add your phone number and download backup codes; they’ll come in handy if you need a code but don’t have access to the authenticator app.
If you’re using Discord from a smartphone or tablet:
- Go to Account (iOS) or My Account (Android) and tap Enable Two-Factor Auth;
- Tap Next, copy the code from Discord, tap Next again and open the authenticator app;
- Enter the code from the authenticator app in Discord.
How to get rid of spammers on Discord
Now, let’s make messaging better. To prevent spammers and other dubious people from swamping your messages, sort out your privacy settings and set the appropriate level of sociophobia.
- Open Privacy & Safety;
- Under Safe direct messaging, select Keep me safe.
With that option enabled, Discord’s artificial intelligence will scan all incoming images and block junk. If you trust all of your Discord friends, select the My friends are nice option and the AI will skip messages from them.
You can also stop random people from adding you to their friend lists by going to the section aptly named Who can add you as a friend and designating groups from whom you are prepared to accept friend requests. It should come as no surprise that choosing the Everyone option increases your chances of encountering spam in your inbox.
You can also choose to Allow direct messages from server members — a shared setting for all servers you join. The setting is enabled by default, but you can set your own rules for each server.
To do so, go back to the main Discord window, right-click the server logo in the menu at the left and select Privacy Settings. In the mobile version, click on the three dots to the right of the server name and enable the option in the Direct messages section.
How to get rid of unwanted notifications on Discord
Discord behaves more or less decently, not gumming up the works with excessive notifications, but configuring your notifications can only benefit you.
On a computer:
- Open Notifications;
- Set the notification format of your choice using the Enable Desktop Notifications, Enable Unread Message Badge, and Enable Taskbar Flashing buttons;
- Under Sounds, turn off sound notifications for nonurgent events.
While you are at your computer, you can also decide when the service should switch to mobile notifications. Discord does not send duplicate notifications to your tablet or smartphone, but if the desktop app is idle for a long time, then notifications will also be sent to your mobile devices. To change that behavior, select the appropriate interval from the Push notification inactive timeout drop-down menu.
On a phone, the settings are slightly different:
- Tap on your avatar;
- Tap Notifications;
- Switch off the In-app notifications option if you don’t want to get notifications inside Discord;
- Enable the System notifications option if you want to stay in touch with your teammates at all times.
If flashing lights on your phone annoy you, choose vibration or sound alerts. Android users can muffle Discord notifications further with the Disable notifications light, Disable notifications vibration, and Disable Sounds options.
How to maintain your privacy on Discord
At this point, we’ve gotten rid of annoying messages and notifications, so let’s now take a look at what Discord knows about you and what other users might be able to find out, some of which you may want to keep to yourself.
How to turn off Discord personalization
Discord developers make no bones about collecting data about you and your habits; they use it to improve how the program works. Not a fan of the practice? You can limit the data Discord collects and uses:
- Open Privacy & Safety;
- In the How we use your data section, disable the following options:
- Usе data to improve Discord,
- Use data to customize my Discord experience,
- Allow Discord to track screen reader usage (the Android version lacks this option).
How to know what data Discord is collecting
Discord will collect information about you regardless. To see what data the messaging service stores, and to download it, you can request a file from Discord with an archive of your personal information. To do so:
- Open Privacy & Safety;
- Click Request Data button at the bottom of the screen.
The link to the archive will arrive by e-mail.
How to hide personal information from other services
In addition to the messaging platform, third-party services that you have connected to Discord may be interested in your data. And Discord, in turn, may be peeking at information from them. To halt those practices, unlink the service accounts with which you do not want to share Discord information. You’ll find that option in the Connections section.
At the same time, in the desktop version, disable the Automatically detect accounts from other platforms on this computer option. Discord does not need to know where else you are registered.
How to avoid sharing unnecessary information with strangers
Not everyone on the server needs to know when you are playing, and not all stream viewers need to know every detail in your profile. To prevent strangers from seeing too much:
- Under Game Activity, disable Display currently running game as a status message;
- In the Streamer Mode section check the Hide Personal Information option, which controls access to your data by viewers of your stream;
- In the same section (Streamer mode), make sure the Hide Invite Links option is enabled. That will prevent trolls in the stream from flooding your server on Discord.
Protect your accounts