Discord Clip Uploader: A cautionary tale

  In the early morning of May 1st, 2024, a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, went viral. An engineering student, who has now deleted their X account, had created a tool called Discord Clip Uploader that promised to eliminate the file size limit on Discord for free without needing to buy Discord Nitro and allow anyone to upload a 15 GB video. The tool was a GUI that would allow the user to select a file from their computer and it would automatically upload that file to the File Ditch, create a thumbnail, upload that thumbnail to ImgBB, and then place the URLs for the video and image into Autocompressor's AV1 Embed Tool. It would then use our Video Info API to get the width and height of the video and then generate a short link to post on Discord. Essentially, it automated the correct way to use the AV1 Embed Tool. The problems started because the developer directed all traffic to File Ditch without their knowledge while encouraging their massive following to upload the largest possible files.

The Early Hours

  At first, the reception on X was overwhelmingly positive. Users were excited to be able to finally ditch Discord Nitro and they happily used the tool while slamming Discord for being greedy. A few users noted that the tool was not actually a "glitch" but rather just a Python script that used the File Ditch and Autocompressor in order to do the real work. Some also warned that the File Ditch might not be able to handle it and that the developer should perhaps donate to them or something. However, they were drowned out by all the users who believed that the tool was a godsend and that they can finally upload full movies on Discord without having to pay anything. Others were worried that this could potentially get patched or get them banned on Discord, but the developer assured them that this tool used intended behavior and it cannot be patched. This is true, because the only "bug" that the AV1 Embed Tool uses is the fact that AV1 videos will display, and we hope that the resolution is that Discord adds AV1 support for regular uploads.

The Issues Begin

  For a couple of hours, the tool worked flawlessly and thousands of users posted large videos on Discord with its assistance. The AV1 Embed Tool got more visitors in a few hours than it usually does in a week due to the tremendous number of people clicking on the posted links and making their own embeds manually. However, the developer's inexperience caught up to them pretty quickly as the ImgBB API key that they provided got rate limited and all users got error JSON put into the image input, resulting in non-functional embeds. At the time, we hadn't realized the amount of chaos this program was causing over at the File Ditch, so we reached out to the developer to help fix it and their response was to use the File Ditch to host images as well as videos. We encouraged them to use our own image hosting utility but they decided not to do so. For another couple of hours, this seemed to work just fine. The users on X were also still encouraging the developer and suggesting new features to improve the tool, including proposing that it should be made into a Vencord plugin to make uploading large videos seamless.

File Ditch Goes Down

  At 6:04 AM CDT, the File Ditch ran out of available storage due to the huge influx of uploads and was forced to shut down temporarily. The owner of the File Ditch reported that 5 terabytes of uploads were sent in during this time period, while they usually only get 1 terabyte per day. At 8:41 AM CDT, they obtained more storage and the File Ditch recovered. However, the File Ditch owner had reduced the upload limit from 15 GB to 1 GB and posted a notice on the website complaining about OSU players on Twitter ruining the website. (The developer of Discord Clip Uploader was part of the OSU community). During the time when the File Ditch was down, the sentiment on X rapidly soured against the developer of Discord Clip Uploader. They were accused of killing the File Ditch and stealing resources from free services unfairly. In addition, instead of issuing an apology or asking users to stop using their program, the developer made a change to Discord Clip Uploader such that it would use a different file host, Anon Transfer, which promised similar capabilities to the File Ditch but with file deletion after 30 days. This did not go over well with the community on X, who slammed the developer for doing something that could potentially take down another file host without acknowledging that they took down the File Ditch. Additionally, it did not work because Anon Transfer produces a link to a download page that looks like a direct link, which you cannot use in the AV1 Embed Tool, and forces the user to go through a CAPTCHA to access the direct link. This likely saved Anon Transfer from the same fate as the File Ditch. As of right now, the upload limit on the File Ditch remains at 1 GB and the notice is still posted.

The notice on the File Ditch as of May 1, 2024, 4:00 PM CDT. The notice on the File Ditch as of May 1, 2024, 4:00 PM CDT

The Developer Disappears

  At 1:07 PM CDT, users on the File Ditch Discord server noticed that the developer of Discord Clip Uploader had deleted their X account and taken down the Git repository hosting the tool. Their GitHub account, which we will not link to out of respect for the developer, remains active. There are many theories floated about why the developer chose to do this, but a credible one is that somebody on X had doxxed the user.

Autocompressor's Role in the Event

  We are not blameless for what happened to the File Ditch. On our AV1 Embed Tool page, we presented the File Ditch as the best option for permanent hosting of larger video files compared to what you can upload to other hosts. The File Ditch can handle uploads made by the normal number of users that visit our tool every day. However, because of how we presented the File Ditch, the developer of the Discord Clip Uploader incorrectly assumed that it would be the perfect option for everyone to upload any kind of video they wanted, and they played up the fact that users could upload 15 GB. As many as 3.3 million users may have seen the tweet, and it gathered tens of thousands of likes while it was up. Thousands of people uploaded their video files to the File Ditch. We don't want to be complicit in any kind of damage to the file hosting services that our users rely on every day, so we've changed how we present the services we recommend. We'd also like to add more file sharing services to our recommended list to avoid any one service getting hit with too much traffic.

  Autocompressor itself also picked up excessive traffic while the tool was broken, because frustrated users still needed a way to embed their videos and they chose to click over to Autocompressor's main compression tool from the embed page used by Discord Clip Uploader. This resulted in a massive overload of the transcoding server.

Lessons Learned

  Releasing a program that uses a resource-heavy third-party web service without their knowledge or consent is never a good idea. In addition, while the developer could be given the benefit of the doubt at first, there was no excuse for using Anon Transfer after learning that the script went viral enough to kill File Ditch. Social media users should be aware of what could happen to any service they choose to endorse if their following were to all use it.

You Can Help The File Ditch

What happened to the File Ditch is very unfortunate and they didn't receive any kind of compensation for being abused by Discord Clip Uploader. You can help them out. They accept donations in Monero (XMR) or Bitcoin (BTC), or you can donate via PayPal if you DM the File Ditch owner on Discord.

XMR: 874aD7fixv3ZSs51pXKrF6KRUyWk8LbzZB4zPDXKPPhUig45Lgn6cNZVzCgUHCeEFRUai6o3XRb62Ys1AHbRj4zT5Zkn2Mp
BTC: bc1q8883epdh8704ac0rs0ahxhxesfp54a2z27cm24