Spotify, the music streaming service, has announced that it will make changes to protect against COVID-19 misinformation. This is after high-profile celebrities and public figures have criticized Spotify for hosting Joe Rogan’s popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
Neil Young, and Joni Mitter pulled their music from Spotify because they were against Rogan’s false claims about vaccines and coronaviruses. Nils Lofgren also confirmed that he had had his music removed from Spotify over the weekend. Brene Brown, author and researcher, said that she would cease releasing new podcasts until further notice. Prince Harry (and Meghan Markle) also voiced their concern over COVID misinformation.
Spotify’s CEO and founder Daniel Ek stated in a statement on Sunday that Spotify didn’t intend to be a content censor, but that it could have been more transparent about its internal content policies.
Ek stated that based on feedback received over the past few weeks, it became clear to me how important it is to balance and provide access to widely-accepted information from medical and scientific communities who are guiding us through this unprecedented moment.
Spotify will now add a new content advisory on any podcast that discusses COVID-19. This will direct listeners towards a hub with “data driven facts, up to date information as shared scientists, doctors, academics, and public health officials around the globe, as well as links from trusted sources.” Ek stated that the content advisory was the first to be published by any major podcasting platform.
The streamer also released its Platform Rules, and said it would try to increase awareness of the content rules among Spotify creators and podcasters. These rules prohibit content that promotes dangerous false or dangerously deceptive medical information, which could cause offline harm or pose a direct threat of public health.
A coalition of scientists, medical professionals and other sent Spotify a letter in December. It highlighted misleading claims Rogan made on his podcast. For example, Rogan encouraged young people to not get vaccinated and promoted ivermectin for COVID-19, despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.