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What is Discord, the voice and text chat app popular with gamers?

(Washington Post illustration; Discord; iStock)

In the weeks since billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter, some users have considered alternative social media platforms. That’s not to say Twitter is gone: It’s still up and running, despite massive employee turnover and chaotic changes to its verification service. Communications app Discord has come up in the conversations around substitute platforms, especially among those in the gaming community who already rely on it to connect with others.

Discord works on computers, Xbox gaming consoles and mobile devices. Some users have complained that Discord is less intuitive to use than applications like Zoom or Skype, but its emphasis on text and voice have made it a go-to for gamers, who like its reliability, pseudonymity and focus on text and voice chat over video.

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Since 2015, Discord has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital funding, and slowly transformed parts of its platform to be more brand-friendly. Like other communications apps, Discord flourished in the pandemic, and could see a new surge of users seeking Twitter alternatives. (Discord declined to share statistics on how many new users have joined the platform since Musk bought Twitter.)

Whether you’re looking for a Twitter alternative or you’re just curious about popular chat apps, we’ve answered some questions you might have about Discord below.