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Billions of Discord messages are scraped for sale online

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  • 4 min read

About 4 billion Discord messages are up for sale on Spy Pet, a scraping website, for as little as $5 in crypto payments. According to the Spy Pet website, they track more than 14,000 servers and 600 million users, including billions of messages.

The scraped data includes users’ messages and activity logs and even tracks the voice channels they join. This sensitive information is then made available for purchase, with access for as little as $5 to anyone willing to pay in cryptocurrency.

A sample Discord message showcased by Spy Pet. | Source: Spy Pet

“Have you ever wondered where your friend hangs out on Discord? Tired of basic search tools like Discord.id? Look no further!” reads the website.

The implications of this data scraping are far-reaching. Discord users, who often assume a level of privacy within their respective servers, may now find their activities exposed and vulnerable to tracking by third parties, even though Discord itself maintains visibility into user activities.

“I like scraping, archiving, and challenging myself,” Spy Pet’s developer told 404Media. “Discord is the holy grail of scraping since Discord is trying absolutely anything to combat scraping.”

Spy Pet’s actions go beyond the platform’s intended usage, raising serious questions about user consent, data protection and platform security. Upon closer investigations, it was confirmed that Spy Pet collects and sells Discord data. The service operates on a credit-based system, requiring users to make payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Monero to access the scraped data.

Each user lookup incurs a cost of 10 credits, with a minimum payment threshold of approximately $5.

Spy Pet’s data collection is extensive, encompassing details such as users’ server memberships, connected accounts (like GitHub), timestamps of their messages, and even logs of their voice channel interactions.

Discord servers available on Spy Pet. | Source: Spy Pet

Additionally, Spy Pet allows users to export targeted chats into downloadable files, further amplifying privacy concerns and data accessibility.

Despite the comprehensive nature of Spy Pet’s data scraping, there are limitations to its coverage. Some users and servers remain outside Spy Pet’s reach, indicating potential gaps in its data methodology.

Notably, Spy Pet’s website openly advertises the sale of scraped data for various purposes including AI model training and assistance to law enforcement agencies. However, the legality and ethical implications of such data usage remain contentious, particularly concerning user consent and privacy rights.

Discord has initiated an investigation into Spy Pet’s activities. “​​Discord is committed to protecting the privacy and data of our users. We are currently investigating this matter. If we determine violations of our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines have occurred, we will take appropriate steps to enforce our policies. We cannot provide further comments as this is an ongoing investigation,” said a Discord spokesperson.

Spy Pet protects user privacy. | Source: Spy Pet

Ironically, Spy Pet guarantees user privacy. “We prioritise your privacy as a user searcher. Your searches are secure and confidential,” writes the website.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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