Spotify Announces COVID-19 Advisory in Response to Joe Rogan Disagreement

On Sunday, Spotify announced it would add content recommendations to any episode of a podcast discussing COVID-19 after musicians Joni Mitchell and Neil Young decided to remove their music from the streaming service in protest at hosting podcasts that spread misinformation about the pandemic. coronavirus.

The audio company said that this informational message, which will be added in the coming days, will direct listeners to Spotify’s “COVID-19 hub”, where listeners can access relevant information from “scientists, doctors, academics and health authorities from around the world.” world, as well as links to reliable sources.

This page features BBC, Politico, CNN and ABC News news as of Sunday.

Spotify hasn’t specified whether the recommendations will air during podcast episodes or simply appear on the show’s page or in episode descriptions.

The company also said it will unveil its longstanding rules for podcasters. These rules include a ban on content that “promotes dangerously false or dangerous misleading health information that may cause offline harm or pose a direct threat to public health” and in several cases points to COVID-19.

Joe Rogan, whose podcast is streamed exclusively on Spotify, has long been criticized for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic on his program.
Joe Rogan, whose podcast is streamed exclusively on Spotify, has long been criticized for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic on his program.

Carmen sent via Getty Images

“We’ve had rules in place for years, but admittedly we haven’t been transparent about the policies that govern our content more broadly,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said Sunday.

Ek said the decision to make his policy public follows recent feedback that “it made clear to me that we have a responsibility to do more to ensure that there is balance and access to generally accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time. ”

Last week, Mitchell and Young announced they would be removing their music from the streaming service after Young first raised concerns about misinformation about COVID-19 being spread on The Joe Rogan Experience, which airs exclusively on Spotify and consistently tops the podcast charts. .

“I want you to tell Spotify immediately today that I want all of my music removed from their platform. They might have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young said in an online statement that was later deleted.

Mitchell, days after Young’s announcement, said she was also working on getting her music removed from Spotify.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that cost people their lives,” she said Friday in a message posted on her website. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical community on this issue.”

Rogan’s podcast has been repeatedly criticized for spreading misinformation about the pandemic and COVID vaccines. Of particular outrage was his interview last month with controversial infectious disease specialist Dr. Robert Malone, who was censored on Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

More than 250 doctors and scientists signed a response letter on Spotify criticizing Rogan’s program and his interview with Malone. Experts said that Rogan’s podcast has a “troubling history of spreading disinformation, especially around the COVID-19 pandemic” and that the misinformation shared by Malone about the virus leaves “tens of millions of listeners vulnerable to predatory medical disinformation.”

“This is not only a scientific or medical issue; this is a sociological problem of devastating proportions, and Spotify has a responsibility to ensure that this activity thrives on its platform,” Mitchell said in a letter posted on her website.

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