The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Leak of military secrets on Discord marks a new step for social media

By Drew Harwell

13 Apr 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

The Post looks at how documents were leaked without the involvement of traditional media. Social media is evolving into groups where a number of users gather in private, invitation-only spaces.

They were the irreverent misfits of a military YouTube creator's fan forum who regrouped in a chatroom known as Thug Shaker Central - named for a meme taken from a gay porn video they often used for shock and laughs.

Now, they are linked to a devastating leak of U.S. intelligence: a set of highly classified documents exposing American espionage and secret assessments of the Ukraine war, some posted months ago in an unmoderated corner of the internet where anyone with an invite could see them.

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