Billions of public Discord messages may be sold through a scraping service


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It’s easy to get the impression that Discord chat messages are ephemeral, especially across different public servers, where lines fly upward at a near-unreadable pace. But someone claims to be catching and compiling that data and is offering packages that can track more than 600 million users across more than 14,000 servers.

Joseph Cox at 404 Media confirmed that Spy Pet, a service that sells access to a database of purportedly 3 billion Discord messages, offers data “credits” to customers who pay in bitcoin, ethereum, or other cryptocurrency. Searching individual users will reveal the servers that Spy Pet can track them across, a raw and exportable table of their messages, and connected accounts, such as GitHub. Ominously, Spy Pet lists more than 86,000 other servers in which it has “no bots,” but “we know it exists.”

As Cox notes, Discord doesn’t make messages inside server channels, like blog posts or unlocked social media feeds, easy to publicly access and search. But many Discord users many not expect their messages, server memberships, bans, or other data to be grabbed by a bot, compiled, and sold to anybody wishing to pin them all on a particular user. 404 Media confirmed the service’s function with multiple user examples. Private messages are not mentioned by Spy Pet and are presumably still secure.

Spy Pet openly asks those training AI models, or “federal agents looking for a new source of intel,” to contact them for deals. As noted by 404 Media and confirmed by Ars, clicking on the “Request Removal” link plays a clip of J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man (the Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi version) laughing at the idea of advance payment before an abrupt “You’re serious?” Users of Spy Pet, however, are assured of “secure and confidential” searches, with random usernames.

This author found nearly every public Discord he had ever dropped into for research or reporting in Spy Pet’s server list. Those who haven’t paid for message access can only see fairly benign public-facing elements, like stickers, emojis, and charted member totals over time. But as an indication of the reach of Spy Pet’s scraping, it’s an effective warning, or enticement, depending on your goals.

Ars has reached out to Spy Pet for comment and will update this post if we receive a response. A Discord spokesperson told Ars that the company is investigating whether Spy Pet violated its terms of service and community guidelines. It will take “appropriate steps to enforce our policies,” the company said, and could not provide further comment.

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