Deleted Discord Messages: Really Gone?

Here’s everything about whether deleted Discord messages are really gone:

When you delete a Discord message, it will be removed from all servers and connected devices, essentially scrubbing it from the platform.

It may remain on Discord backend servers for up to several years. Accounts are deleted after 15 to 30 days upon request, but deleting an account doesn’t delete its messages. So if you want to learn all about what exactly happens to Discord messages once you delete them or your account, then this article is for you. Let’s get to it!

What Is Discord?

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Before we jump into deleting messages and accounts, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page. What is Discord? It’s a communication application and platform.

Discord allows you to send messages, place calls, have audio conferences, video conferences, screen sharing, and even live streaming. It’s a full-service communication platform, and it runs a little differently from most of the others.

Discord allows users to create what are called servers. If you create a Discord server, you create a persistent conference where people can send messages, talk, stream, and all of the rest.

It’s similar to Zoom, but your Discord servers aren’t temporary. They stay open and accessible until and unless you delete them. Discord is entirely free to use, and you can use it via an app or a web browser. That is, there is a Discord app available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and other major operating systems.

Or, you can go to the website and use Discord right there in your browser. To use Discord, you have to create an account, but that is free, and you can have multiple accounts.

One last thing you need to know is that it is easy to send written or text messages in Discord. You can send private messages to a single user, or you can participate in chat rooms that are inside Discord servers.

What Happens When You Delete a Discord Message? (2 Things)

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Whether you are using the Discord app or running it through a web browser, when you delete a message, it is immediately removed from your device.

You’ll see it disappear in real-time. But, that’s not really enough, right?

You want the message to disappear from Discord as a whole. That does happen, but it’s a bit of a process. After all, Discord is disseminating your message across every individual device that connected to the server where you sent it.

So, when you delete a message, it also sends that command to the Discord servers. They then know that you want to remove the message from Discord entirely, and the process begins.

#1 Synchronization

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The first thing that happens is that the Discord servers disseminate your deletion request to every device that matters.

After all, Discord messages are stored on Discord servers, and you can download and view those messages at your convenience via the app or website. What this means is that Discord servers have to send out the deletion signal to every device that could possibly have your message on them.

If this was a private message with only one recipient, then the process is simple. The message is removed from your device (and eventually every device you have used to connect to your Discord account).

It is also removed from the recipient’s devices. That’s really the end of it. If you are deleting the message on a public server, then things can take longer.

Discord will delete the message from that server, but it can still be downloaded and displayed on a large number of individual devices.

Each of those devices has to connect to Discord in order to receive the command to delete your message. Ultimately your message will be deleted everywhere, but it can take time.

If someone happened to see your message on their phone, and then they turn their phone off for a while, Discord can’t delete the message from their phone until they turn it back on and connect to the Discord services.

Because of this, it’s impossible to say how long it takes for a message to completely disappear from Discord. What you can trust is that the automated system will purge the message as efficiently as possible.

#2 Deletion From the Servers

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The synchronization prevents anyone from being able to see your message after you delete it. That much is reliable, but your message might remain on Discord servers for a different amount of time.

Basically, your message will remain in a data file that no user can see, and Discord typically hangs onto that file for 180 days (sometimes longer).

Why do they keep deleted messages? There are a few reasons, but it mostly comes down to disputes and quality assurance. Think of it from Discord’s perspective. Why did you need to delete that message in the first place?

Did you say something you really shouldn’t have? If Discord gets reports of abuse, spam, illegal activity, or anything else that violates the terms and conditions, then the people at Discord will have to look into those reports.

If they keep messages for 180 on a server that can’t be viewed by the public, they can find the truth of these claims and resolve them correctly.

That’s really the point. Discord won’t display your deleted messages, but they might use them in dispute resolution. They might also use your messages to help train their AI to spot messages that violate the terms and conditions. That’s the gist of it.

Are the Deleted Discord Messages Really Gone?

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I already covered how Discord hangs onto messages.

As a standard, messages are kept for 180 days, but in some circumstances, messages might stay on non-public servers for up to 5 years.

This is about legal compliance. If a message is flagged for use by law enforcement (meaning it’s being used as evidence in a legal case), then Discord, by law, has to keep the message on the servers. It still won’t be publicly visible, but Discord may release the message to law enforcement if required by law.

All of that said, even though the messages are in a hidden server on Discord, deleted messages are effectively gone from the app.

The real problem is that there are ways to preserve deleted messages that Discord can’t control.

The most obvious are screenshots. If someone saves your message in a screenshot before you delete it, then Discord can’t do anything about it.

You can delete the message, but the screenshot will survive. Any other method of recording the message (such as streams or other screen-sharing mechanisms) will also survive the Discord purge. It’s something to keep in mind.

Discord Data Retention

There is one other thing to understand about how Discord deals with your data. If you read the terms and conditions, Discord reserves the right to save your user data for up to five years.

I already mentioned how this can be tied to law enforcement, but Discord set the policy that they can keep your stuff for five years for any reason.

It doesn’t have to be tied to a law enforcement request. In most cases, Discord isn’t keeping your messages.

Instead, they’re hanging onto user data. This includes things like how often you send messages, how much time you spend on Discord, how much data you send and receive, and other statistical things like that.

Discord, like any tech company, uses this data to inform its services and make improvements. The thing is, Discord is technically reserving the right to hang onto your messages too.

Again, deleted messages won’t be displayed to users, but it’s possible that your deleted message will live in hidden servers for up to five years, and it might have nothing to do with dispute resolution or law enforcement.

I mentioned before that Discord uses messages to train AI. If they use your deleted messages for anything else, they haven’t disclosed that information.

Let’s recap all of this to make it clear. Discord will hang onto your deleted messages for 180 days as a default. After that, they might keep the messages for up to five years, for any number of reasons. Regardless, those messages will not be publicly viewable after you delete them.

What Happens When You Delete a Discord Account?

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That covers messages.

What happens when you delete a Discord account? The process is going to be similar but not identical. When you delete your Discord account, it sends a message to the Discord servers.

Discord will go through a confirmation process to ensure you aren’t doing this accidentally. Once you confirm everything, Discord will nuke the account. 

You won’t be able to log in with that account anymore, and it will fall off of servers and friends lists. I’ll get into that process a little later.

First, I want to point out one thing. Discord has a policy of hanging onto deleted accounts for 15 to 30 days. This is just so that you can recover your account if you change your mind, the deletion was an accident, or someone else tried to delete your account. To recover a deleted account, you’ll need to contact Discord customer service.

Are Deleted Discord Accounts Really Gone? (3 Things)

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When you delete an account, it is removed from Discord, but what that means is not exactly straightforward.

You won’t be able to access your account anymore, and people can’t send messages to that account, but not everything actually disappears from Discord. Let’s break that down into the important details.

#1 The Account Itself

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When you delete an account, the account itself is nuked. As I said, Discord hangs onto it for 15 to 30 days, just in case it was an accident.

But, unless you go to customer service and ask to undelete the account (within that time window), you will no longer be able to log into your account. To be clear, no one can log into that account anymore.

It is deleted and gone from Discord’s records. Discord might hang onto data generated by that account, but it will be anonymized, and no user will be able to access any of it.

Discord will also nuke any record of your account across all of the servers.

Every server that your account joined will no longer be able to see the account name anymore. The account will disappear from friends lists, server lists, and all of the rest. Your account name will also disappear from all messages and logs.

#2 Messages

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That last line might have struck a chord, and that means you’re paying attention. Discord will remove your account name from messages that remain on the servers, but it won’t delete the messages.

They actually remain. Let me say this again for emphasis.

When you delete your Discord account, all of the messages you sent with that account remain on Discord servers indefinitely.

If you want to delete your messages, you have to go back and delete each message individually. Also, you have to do that before you delete the account.

#3 Graphics

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Similarly, if you send out graphics, those won’t be deleted either. This includes emojis, GIFs, and anything else that you might have sent while using the account. Discord saves these types of graphics as messages, so if you want to delete them, you have to do it manually, per message.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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