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Discord, a voice and chat app for gamers, is saving users’ deleted information.
A YouTuber and programmer named Jamie Pine uploaded a video Wednesday explaining how he’d discovered a cache of deleted images on his computer, and it quickly shot to the top of Reddit. Think of a cache like a knick-knack drawer—hidden from sight but full of forgotten and sometimes unwanted items.
I found that Discord saves every image you've ever seen on your hard drive, even if it has been deleted. You need to use a cmd line to view these files, and there's no way to remove them from within the client. FULL VIDEO: https://t.co/32HYyf0U6M pic.twitter.com/nLFxkDK9vy— jam (@jamiepine) February 14, 2019
In the video, Pine breaks down how other Discord users can locate and view the images in their cache, but cannot find any option to clear it. “If someone sent me something potentially bad or illegal, it’s on my drive,” Pine says. In his own folder, Pine finds images from months ago. “I feel like a lot of you that are watching this are going to want to go in here and clear your cache, just in case someone sent you something bad.”
He explains that the images saved in the cache don’t even need to have been sent directly to a user. “If you went into a Discord that had an image that was potentially bad, it could be in this folder,” Pine says. He explains that after discovering the cache, he did a quick Google search to see what came up. All that could be found was a Reddit thread discussing a similar, but different, situation.
Most concerning, Pine couldn’t find an option to delete the cache. After attempting to delete the Discord cache on his computer, Pine found that opening Discord brought them all back. On top of that, a quick experiment with a friend revealed that, as he suspected, an image immediately deleted by the sender would remain in the cache of the person receiving it. The images stored in the cache do need to be viewed in order to be saved.
In several tweets following his video, Pine addressed some of the comments he’d received from viewers.
"god you're stupid for not knowing what a cache is".. yeah clearly most people don't so I'm happy to show them and why it could possibly be a bad thing on a platform where images are thrown around and deleted left and right, yet all remain on your hard drive.— jam (@jamiepine) February 14, 2019
“It’s not just Discord,” Pine explained. “Every app based on Chromium (Electron) does this, it’s just more relevant in the context of Discord and the kind of shit that happens on there, with most people being part of large communities of all sorts of people.”
Someone could go post child porn in a server of 10,000 people, get banned instantly but now you have potentially hundreds of people, who happened to have that chat open, maybe afk, now with child porn on their computer against their knowledge.— jam (@jamiepine) February 14, 2019
“Someone could go post child porn in a server of 10,000 people, get banned instantly but now you have potentially hundreds of people, who happened to have that chat open, maybe afk, now with child porn on their computer against their knowledge.”
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.