Discord Windows Lede 1Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Yesterday, Discord announced a move that will block all not safe for work (NSFW) servers on iOS devices (via iMore). The move was made to allow Discord's app to work with Apple's strict policies for NSFW content on iOS devices. Tumblr removed some adult content from its platform in a similar move that helped it return to the App Store after a brief time away. It seems that Discord is taking a page from the same playbook.

Discord's move isn't quite as dramatic. NSFW servers will still be on Discord, but you won't be able to access them on iOS devices (unless you're a server owner or moderator). You'll still be able to view NSFW content on desktop apps, the web (including the web on iOS devices), and presumably Android devices.

VPN Deals: Lifetime license for $16, monthly plans at $1 & more

Discord's move to fit within Apple's guidelines gave me a new appreciation for the openness of Windows 10.

Says who?

iPhone 12 Blue Iphone 12 Pro Pacific BlueSource: Windows Central

To be completely honest, I'm not on any NSFW servers on Discord. I didn't even know they were a thing before this recent news story, but that doesn't mean I can't weigh in. I'm all for protecting kids and restricting content for underage people. I'm against preventing consenting adults from looking at legal content that they want to view on the web.

Discord clearly isn't against NSFW servers as a whole, or this move would apply to other platforms and the web. As a result, I'm pointing the blame at Apple. Who says that someone can't be part of an NSFW community? Who says people can't chat and share NSFW content on a phone? Apple? Why should people on Discord have to dance around Apple's idea of morality?

If the move was just to protect kids, I'd fully support the decision. But App Store policies are forcing platforms to dance around the rule of Apple.

Open up

Discord DownloadSource: Windows Central

One of the beauties of Windows is how you can install apps from so many sources. While there is a Microsoft Store, that's far from the only place to grab apps. Case in point, Discord's desktop client for Windows isn't even on the Microsoft Store. Instead, you can just download Discord's client for Windows directly from the company's website. There's a third-party Discord app that works on Windows 10 and Xbox, but it's not from Discord itself. Maybe that will change if the rumors of Microsoft wanting to buy Discord are accurate, but that wouldn't really change anything related to this saga.

I'm a big fan of app stores. I've written about Windows apps and the Microsoft Store for years. But when cases come up like what we saw with Discord and iOS, it's important to highlight the open nature of Windows. Discord doesn't have to shift the content on its own platform to make Microsoft happy. Even if Microsoft didn't want the Discord app in the Microsoft Store, Discord would still be readily available on Windows.

In contrast to Microsoft's approach with Windows, Apple takes a more walled approach. Apple has taken several steps against sideloading apps in the past, making alternatives to the App Store more difficult to use. Even if sideloading was easy on iOS, it isn't the same to downloading any program you want on Windows.

Rotten Apple

iPad App StoreSource: Windows Central

This short saga just leaves a weird taste in my mouth. Why is Apple involved in what people can view on the web? Is Apple going to crack down on people using the Safari browser to look at NSFW content? Apple isn't even limiting NSFW Discord servers on the web on iOS, so I'm not sure why it cares so much about people viewing them on an app.