The Dark Side of Discord: Exposing Group 764

Discord, a once niche platform for gamers, has exploded in popularity, becoming a vibrant online hub for millions. Yet, amidst the communities dedicated to gaming, art, and shared interests, a sinister underbelly thrives. Child extortion groups like Group 764 exploit the platform’s features to target vulnerable youth, creating a chilling reality for online safety.

The Rise of Group 764

Emerging in 2021, Group 764 was a particularly insidious group, founded by a manipulative 16-year-old boy in Texas named Bradley Cadenhead, according to investigators. Cadenhead used the different screen names “Felix” or “Brad” while running the group. He quickly gained a web following as the leader of a group described in court filings as a cult fixated on sadistic acts. According to The Washington Post, “He created the first 764 Discord server in January 2021, according to the company spokeswoman. Discord servers are meeting spaces where members gather to communicate with each other by text, voice and video. The person who creates a server controls who is admitted to it and who moderates its content.” 

In a 2023 public warning, the FBI stated that the group was “deliberately targeting minor victims on publicly available messaging platforms to extort them into recording or live streaming acts of self-harm and producing child sexual abuse material.” Their tactics were especially cruel, preying on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of young people. “A how-to guide circulated on Telegram offers tips on how to groom girls who are ‘emotionally weak/vulnerable,’” says The Washington Post. 

This guide on Telegram advises users to:

  • Gain her trust
  • Make her feel comfortable doing anything for you
  • Make her want to cut for you
  • Get to her emotions and make it seem like you’re the only person she could ever need in her life 
  • Target girls who have eating disorders or bipolar disorder
Image Credit: The Washington Post, On popular online platforms, predatory groups coerce children into self-harm

Experts believe the group may have been inspired by similar, equally depraved communities festering online. A report by the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) chillingly noted, “764 took inspiration from another Discord Community known as ‘Cvlt’ that forced children to perform sexual acts on camera.”

The Impact of Group 764

The impact of Group 764’s actions transcended the digital realm, inflicting deep emotional trauma and scarring experiences on their victims. One of those victims was a 14-year-old girl from Oklahoma who was persuaded by “Brad” (Bradley Cadenhead) to send a nude photo. Cadenhead immediately used this as leverage to get the young girl to live stream “degrading and violent acts,” the girl’s mother told The Washington Post

These violent acts included: 

  • Carving their screen names deep into her thigh
  • Drinking from a toilet bowl
  • Beheading a pet hamster

The escalating pressure reached a nightmarish peak when she was presented with a final, barbaric demand: to livestream her own suicide.

Fortunately, her mother was able to intervene before her daughter was able to act on the final demand. She said, “You just don’t realize how quickly it can happen.”

In the 2023 FBI public warning, they identified similar groups targeting minors from ages 8 to 17. The warning stated, “The groups use extortion and blackmail tactics, such as threatening to SWAT or DOX the minor victims, if they do not comply with the groups’ requests, manipulate and extort minors into producing CSAM and videos depicting animal cruelty and self-harm.”

Abbigail Beccaccio, chief of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Operational Unit, hit the nail on the head when she said, “People are not understanding the severity, the speed at which their children can become victimized. These are offenders that have the ability to change your child’s life in a matter of minutes.”

Now, this is just one of many stories that has come from the Discord Server 764. If you’d like to read about some of the other victim’s stories, you can do so here: The Washington Post or WIRED.

The Takedown of Group 764

The public warning issued by the FBI in September 2023 was the first time they mentioned group 764. The Washington Post’s article mentioned that, “The bureau declined to comment on any steps it took to investigate the group after the 2021 meeting.” 

The article goes on to say, “Discord has filed ‘many hundreds’ of reports about 764 with law enforcement authorities, according to a company spokeswoman, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from 764-affiliated groups. The company removed 34,000 user accounts associated with the group last year, many of them assumed to be repeat offenders, she said.”

According to court and police records, Discord had a very difficult time keeping Cadenhead off the platform. “The company sent authorities reports about illegal images on 58 different accounts operated by Cadenhead, well into 2021,” the Discord spokeswoman said.

Cadenhead is now 18, and he’s serving an 80-year prison sentence for possession with intent to promote child pornography. 

While there have been steps taken to resolve this issue, the fight isn’t over. As GNET researchers warned, “much remains unknown about the inner workings of these servers…and the illegality of the content…prevents direct observation…of many core communities.” There’s a risk that similar groups operate under different names, continuing the cycle of abuse.

Protecting Our Children Online

The FBI “urges the public to exercise caution when posting or direct messaging personal photos, videos, and identifying information on social media, dating apps, and other online sites. Although seemingly innocuous when posted or shared, the images and videos can provide malicious actors an abundant supply of content to exploit for criminal activity.”

The importance of online safety cannot be overstated. Here are some tips for parents and guardians, as recommended by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC):

  • Maintain open communication with your children about their online activities.
  • Educate them about the dangers of online predators and extortion tactics.
  • Look for signs of exploitation such as withdrawal, depression, or unexplained online activity.
  • If you suspect a child is being exploited online, report it to the NCMEC: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: You can also get help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE.


The takedown of Group 764 is a victory for online safety advocates. However, vigilance is key. Parents and guardians must be vigilant in their efforts to protect their children online. We also must work together as a community to create a safer online environment for everyone, especially children. Platforms like Discord have a responsibility to implement stricter measures to prevent such groups from forming. By staying informed, talking openly with our children, and reporting suspicious activity, we can protect them from the dangers that lurk online.

If you or anyone you know is in need of a safe phone or watch for kids, Troomi’s here to help.