Discord is a platform dedicated to communication, with its tagline being “Your Place to Talk.” It’s a relatively new yet increasingly popular way to talk with others via text, audio calls, and video calls. While it’s available in many countries, Discord is banned in others.
What Countries Is Discord Banned In?
Discord is banned in Oman, Iran, Egypt, mainland China, United Arab Emirates, and North Korea. While these countries have banned Discord, many Discord users continue to access the platform illegally.
In this article I’ll go over why Discord is banned in some of these countries as well as how citizens in these countries are still able to access Discord.
Why Do Certain Countries Choose To Ban Discord?
Certain countries choose to ban Discord as it’s seen as a threat to countries with robust censorship policies, such as China and North Korea. On Discord, people from all across the globe can share ideas, thoughts, and opinions in one space.
Countries like China, the UAE, North Korea, Iran, and Oman are notorious for their strict censorship regulations.
Thus, blocking Discord, where the conversation is at the very core of its business plan, is practically expected in a country with such censorship laws.
For perspective, TheRecord.media reports that mainland China’s “Great Firewall” has approximately 311,000 domains blocked.
The UAE, as reported by ArabianBusiness.com last year, has over 1,600 domains blocked.
It’s really nothing against Discord personally; instead, it has more to do with how these countries choose to govern and what type of information they want to allow into their country.
Let’s dive into a few of these countries specifically down below and then talk about which countries Discord is allowed in.
Is Discord Banned In China?
Discord is banned in China, but this only applies to mainland China. The ban took effect on July 13, 2018. Fortunately, those living in Hong Kong and Macau can use Discord as the app isn’t forbidden there, thanks to China’s “one country, two systems” policy.
Censorship isn’t foreign to China, as it’s known for its “Great Firewall” and legislative practices responsible for banning various websites.
Many popular websites centered on communication and the redistribution of knowledge and ideas, such as Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit, are banned in mainland China.
The “one country, two systems” policy permits Hong Kong and Macau to have limited freedoms in regards to which platforms they can use. While Discord may be banned in mainland China, there are still ways to access it.
Many tourists and citizens are still able to access websites such as Discord by using VPNs (like this one on Amazon) which help to keep their internet activity hidden.
However, even using a VPN is not 100% effective and you may still be unable to access certain sites even with a VPN.
Are VPNs Illegal In China?
VPNs are not illegal in China, but they’re heavily restricted and regulated. The key here is to use a VPN that complies with China’s laws towards VPNs.
However, my recommendation would be to obey the laws and stick to one of China’s approved communication apps. As great as Discord is, I don’t think it is worth it breaking the law just to use the platform. That’s my opinion anyways.
Is Discord Banned In The United Arab Emirates?
Discord is banned in the United Arab Emirates, meaning you can’t use it there. Previously, people could use Discord in the UAE, but after a series of on-again-off-again blocks, it was banned entirely in the fall of 2020.
Like mainland China, the UAE has a reputation for blocking and filtering online content within its country.
According to Adhrb.org, a human rights-oriented news source, the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) blocks various websites, news outlets, political hashtags, and even 500 different search terms.
As explained by ArabianBusiness.com, the UAE blocks the use of many VoIP (Voice of Internet Protocol) applications, like WhatsApp and Facetime.
Discord is classified as a VoIP application since it allows you to make audio calls. According to FreedomHouse.org, before Discord’s official ban in 2020, the UAE banned Discord’s VoIP feature in 2016.
Is It Legal To Bypass the UAE’s Discord Ban?
It’s illegal to bypass the UAE’s Discord ban, meaning it’s also illegal to use a VPN to access Discord. Accessing purposely blocked websites or any content infringing upon the laws and culture of the UAE is punishable by law, like receiving a steep fine or even a prison sentence.
If you’re looking to bypass the UAE Discord ban, your safest and easiest option is downloading a VPN (like this one on Amazon). However, it’s important to note that using a VPN in the UAE may come with risks and I don’t recommend it.
Albawaba.com, a source for Middle East news, claims that VPNs are technically legal in the UAE, butut that doesn’t mean you should use a VPN to bypass the UAE’s Discord ban.
Comparitech.com recommends that if you’re going to download VPN apps to use in the UAE, you should do so when you’re not in the country. The site mentions that there have been reports of VPN users being under surveillance.
However, like I mentioned above, if you are visiting these countries I don’t think it is worth the risk. I believe you should respect the laws of the country you are in, even if you may disagree with them
What Countries Is Discord Allowed In?
Discord is allowed in most countries in the world such as the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Brazil, Russia, all European countries, and any other country besides those previously listed as having banned Discord.
While a few countries have banned Discord, the platform is allowed virtually everywhere else.
Citizens in these countries often have a right to freedom of speech and/or freedom of expression in their laws, which permits the use of an app like Discord.
For example, in the United States, the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech for every citizen. In Europe, freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the European Commission. In India, freedom of speech and expression is granted by Article 19 of their constitution.
Although certain countries have stricter laws than others when it comes to censorship, for the most part Discord is widely accepted and used as a great place to chat and interact with different kinds of people.
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- Similar Web: Discord App Overview
- CNN: Discord is the one app you need to be using — here’s what you need to know
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_websites_blocked_in_mainland_China
- Comparitech: Is Discord banned in the UAE? How to use Discord in the UAE
- Comparitech: How to Unblock and Use Discord in China (works in 2021)
- Vypr VPN: Does Discord Work in China?
- The Verge: Most free Android VPNs leak data and many don’t even use encryption, says study
- CFR: Hong Kong’s Freedoms: What China Promised and How It’s Cracking Down
- TechNadu: 5 Best China VPN in 2021
- TechNadu: How to Use a VPN in China Without Breaking the Law
- TechNadu: Where Are VPNs Illegal? – Here Are the 10 Countries That Have Banned the Use of VPNs (Updated for 2021)!
- China Highlights: The Best VPNs for China (Free and Paid)
- Switch VPN: Is It Legal To Use A VPN In China In 2021?
- Freedom House: United Arab Emirates
- Arabian Business: To post or not to post? The UAE, social media and the law
- Albawaba: All You Need to Know About VPNs in the UAE
- Arabian Business: Over 1,600 websites in the UAE blocked in 2019
- Freedom of expression and information
- First Amendment | US Constitution