In response to growing complaints from musicians and listeners about Joe Rogan’s role in spreading what has been widely criticised as false information about the coronavirus, Spotify’s chief executive responded on Sunday. Rogan, the streaming service’s star podcaster, has been accused of spreading what has been widely criticised as false information about the coronavirus. Musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, both of whom have significantly larger cultural importance than their respective streaming statistics, took down their music from Spotify last week in protest of the platform’s support for Rogan’s controversial show.
“We recognise that we have an important role to play in enabling creative expression while also balancing it with the safety of our users,” said Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive officer and one of the company’s founders, in a public letter. When we are in that position, it is critical to me that we do not assume the role of content censor while simultaneously ensuring that there are standards in place and penalties for those who break them.”
Ek made no explicit mention of Rogan, who has come under fire for his interviews with vaccination doubters and has received complaints about them. More than 200 professors and public health officials signed a letter this month urging Spotify to crack down on Covid-19 misinformation on its platform. The letter referenced an episode of Rogan’s podcast featuring Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious-disease expert, that contained “several falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines,” according to the experts’ letter.
Last week, Young and Mitchell cited such concerns as the reason for their decision to remove their music off Spotify, igniting a discussion across the music business over the role that artists should have in determining where their music is heard. Spotify has been dubbed “the home of life-threatening Covid disinformation,” and Mitchell has written that “irresponsible individuals are propagating falsehoods that are causing people to lose their lives on the platform.” As a result, many users have taken to social media to express their support for Young and Mitchell and to announce that they are cancelling their Spotify memberships, however Spotify has not disclosed how many accounts have been terminated as of this writing.
The host of “The Rogan Experience” claimed he would be open to having “additional experts with diverse viewpoints immediately after I have the contentious ones” in a roughly 10-minute video uploaded on Instagram.
The controversy surrounding Rogan’s podcast has sparked a fresh round of discussion about issues such as free expression on the internet and political division in the post-coronavirus age. Technology and social media platforms, like as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have been widely accused of having a significant part in the dissemination of misinformation about the virus and the vaccinations that are being used to prevent its transmission. Although some freedom of expression activists support such platforms for enabling open discussion, social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have emphasised their track records of removing what they consider to be clearly false content.
He said that Spotify will include a “content advisory” note to every podcast episode that includes a discussion on the coronavirus, sending listeners to a “Covid-19 portal” that contains facts and information about the virus. There are connections to health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as podcasts from news organisations such as the BBC, CNN, and ABC News.
Ek also said that the site is disclosing its platform guidelines for the first time, which cover information that is hazardous, deceitful, sensitive, and unlawful, among other things. “Content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or pose a direct threat to public health,” such as denial of the existence of Covid-19 or “promoting or suggesting” that vaccines approved by local health authorities are designed to cause death, is among the prohibited content.
When Spotify started deleting Young’s songs on Wednesday, the business said that it had “removed approximately 20,000 podcast episodes connected to Covid since the start of the outbreak,” according to the firm. Dr. Malone’s episode with Rogan is still available to listen to on Spotify.