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Discord on Tuesday announced it’s making a number of changes to expand its service beyond the gaming community. The company says the change is one its users have requested as Discord has become more of a tool for “day-to-day communication.”

“Games are what brought many of you on the platform, and we’ll always be grateful for that,” reads a blog post by Discord CEO Jason Citron and CTO Stanislav Vishnevskiy.

“As time passed, a lot of you realized, and vocalized, that you simply wanted a place designed to hang out and talk in the comfort of your own communities and friends. You wanted a place to have genuine conversations and spend quality time with people, whether catching up, learning something, or sharing ideas.”

The company has launched a redesigned website with the tagline “Your place to talk.” The new site describes Discord as appropriate for school clubs, gaming groups, art communities, or just groups of friends.

Discord outlined a number of actions it plans to take to make its platform friendlier to non-gaming users. They include improving “the new user onboarding experience,” increasing capacity for voice and video chat, and continuing to invest in “reliability and performance as our top priority.” Discord says it made the interface’s built-in jokes and references less specific to gaming. And the company has created a “Discord Safety Center” that summarizes its data practices, rules, safety tips, and explanations for parents and teachers.

Discord’s audience continues to grow, especially as the coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for voice and video chat services. The company, which competes primarily with workplace chat apps like Slack, announced it now has more than 100 million monthly active users who spend 4 billion minutes in conversation each day. Discord has also secured an additional $100 million in funding, which it says will “help accelerate our investment in the community, new features, and the company.”

Discord has made other efforts to reach a broader audience in recent months. On Juneteenth, the company announced a set of initiatives to combat hate speech on its platform. Those include vowing to audit the ways its users spread racism; developing new software to manage abuse; diversifying its staff; contributing to organizations focused on racial justice; and offering customized services to community organizers and activists.

Discord has more than 100 million active users

Discord has also placed a heavier emphasis on its voice chat platform of late. The company said in April that it had seen 50 percent growth in voice users in the US since the beginning of 2020. The company introduced a noise-suppression feature in beta as part of a partnership with Krisp.ai that detects and removes background noise so voices can be heard more clearly — a function that Microsoft also announced for Teams last month.

In March, Discord upped the number of users who can simultaneously view a live stream from 10 to 50, also citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying surge in live streaming and video chatting. Citron noted that the feature would be useful for teachers conducting classes remotely or co-workers collaborating. Discord stated in a tweet that it would maintain the higher limit “while it’s most critically needed.”

News Source: newsbrig.com

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NBCUniversal sets goal of 50 percent diversity among staffers at NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde announced a “Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative” on Tuesday, setting a goal to have 50 percent of its staffers be women and 50 percent of the total workforce be people of color in an effort to increase diversity at the company.

The NBCUniversal News Group includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC.

Conde, a former Telemundo chairman, was chosen to oversee the group in May when the company announced that Andy Lack was leaving the company.

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In a memo to staffers that was first obtained by the Los Angeles Times, confirmed by multiple outlets and published in full by TheWrap and TVNewser, Conde detailed changes he plans to make at NBCUniversal News Group after spending time “looking inward, asking tough questions and examining” ways to improve.

The NBCUniversal News Group includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC.  

“Over the past several weeks we have covered a country reckoning with systemic inequality and the painful consequences of a long history of racial injustice,” Conde wrote. “During times like this, I know we all feel a heavy responsibility to our audience. But we have another important responsibility to meet as well – to each other and the news organization we all value.”

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Conde said he has spent time exploring “what we should be doing differently in our own house” at the NBCUniversal News Group. Deadline reported that Conde told staffers the company is currently 26.5 percent diverse.

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde a former Telemundo chairman, was chosen to oversee the group in May. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

“It is clear from those conversations that there is a reservoir of good will and righteous intentions within our walls. It is also clear that the time for action is now. Our introspection and dialogue must continue, but on a parallel path we will lay out a plan for an even more inclusive workplace. And we will start executing now,” Conde wrote. “We aspire to achieve two concrete goals: that 50% of our News organization employees be women and 50% of our total workforce be people of color.”

Conde didn’t offer a timetable for his goals, but said a plan has been developed.

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“This plan has five pillars: investment and recruitment; content; education and development; partnerships; and measurement,” Conde wrote, noting that the next 100 days are going to be critical to his plan.

“Over the next 100 days, we will be asking all of you to provide feedback on our action plan and how we should hold ourselves accountable. At the end of those 100 days, we will reconvene as a group to review our progress, potentially add to the plan, and collectively decide on the key metrics to track our progress,” Conde wrote.

NBCUniversal News Group did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

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