Saturday, October 1, 2022

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle urge Spotify to eliminate ‘serious harm’ from COVID lies

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry expressed Spotify’s shared concerns about its role in building a platform to spread misinformation about COVID-19.

Casting their votes to a growing number of public figures who have spoken out against the streaming giant amid the controversy over Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast, the couple addressed the “serious harm” of spreading false vaccine claims in a statement on Sunday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who signed an exclusive multi-year partnership with Spotify in 2020, said they had previously raised the “all too real implications of COVID-19 misinformation” with the company last April.

“Since the inception of Archwell, we have been working to overcome the global crisis of disinformation in real time. Hundreds of millions of people suffer serious harm every day from rampant falsehoods and misinformation,” a spokesman for the Archwell Foundation said, according to People. “Last April, our co-founders began raising concerns with our partners at Spotify about the all-too-real impact of COVID-19 misinformation on their platform.”

“We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes are made to its platform to help manage this public health crisis,” the statement said. “We look forward to Spotify meeting this moment and intend to continue our work together.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle perform on stage at Global Citizen Live: New York.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle perform on stage at Global Citizen Live: New York.

The statement does not mention Rogan or his hugely popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which airs exclusively on Spotify, but others do not shy away from directly addressing the host’s lies.

Last week, musician Neil Young removed his entire catalog from the streaming service, citing the company’s distribution partnership with Rogan, who he said spread “false information about vaccines, which could lead to the death of those who believe in the misinformation they spread.”

A few days later, Joni Mitchell followed suit in solidarity with Young and “the global scientific and medical community on this issue.”

In response to the controversy, Spotify said on Wednesday that the company has a “great responsibility to strike a balance between safety for listeners and freedom for creators” and has “removed more than 20,000 episodes of COVID-related podcasts since the start of the pandemic.”

But many believe that the streaming service is not aggressive enough in the fight against disinformation. The host and comedian actively discouraged young people from getting the vaccine, only to refuse a few days later, admitting that he was a “fucking jerk” and “a disrespectful source of information even for me.” He also promoted the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 and suggested that President Joe Biden faked receiving a live booster.

Earlier this month, a coalition of 270 doctors, scientists, professors and medical professionals signed an open letter condemning Rogan’s podcast for “promoting baseless conspiracy theories” and “allowing the spread of false and socially harmful claims.”

“With approximately 11 million listeners each episode, JRE is the world’s largest and most influential podcast,” the letter said. “While Spotify is responsible for preventing the spread of disinformation on its platform, the company does not currently have a disinformation policy.”

Spotify’s partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, first announced in December 2020, aimed to “host and produce podcasts that build community around shared experiences, stories and values,” according to a press release at the time.

But the deal has yet to bear fruit. Aside from a 33-minute 2020 holiday special in which their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor made a surprise appearance, the couple has not posted any content on the platform.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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