Spotify Addresses Covid-19 Misinformation Claims on the Platform

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Last week, audio-streaming app Spotify was trending on social media after a section of musicians pulled out their music from the platform. The company has now issued a statement to address widespread criticism in regards to alleged Covid-19 misinformation on the app.

“We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users,” Spotify CEO and Co-founder, wrote in a public letter.

Joe Rogan, a popular podcaster was accused of spreading Covid-19 misinformation through his interviews. A group of more than 200 professors and public health officials called on Spotify to crack down on Covid-19 misinformation on its platform, citing Rogan’s podcast featuring infectious-disease expert Dr. Robert Malone, which they said included “several falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines.”

Read: YouTube to Remove Videos Spreading Misinformation on Covid-19 Vaccines

However, Ek made no reference to the podcaster in his address but instead focused on the company’s plans to implement policies that would guide creators.

“In that role, it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them.” the letter further read.

Musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell who are famed for their cultural influence had pulled down their music from the app, with Young referring to Spotify as “the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation”, while Mitchell said the app had irresponsible people spreading lies costing people their lives. As a result, thousands of users expressed their intentions to cancel their Spotify subscriptions in solidarity with the two musicians. The backlash sparked a debate about the role of artists in deciding where their music is played and heard.

Read: Twitter Introduces Strike System to Enforce Policies on Covid-19 Misinformation

“We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources. This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days.” Ek said in the letter.

The company said it had removed over 20,000 pieces of Covid-19 misinformation from the platform. However, Rogan’s interview is still available. The comedian hosts the most popular podcast on Spotify, after signing an exclusive deal worth about $100 million with the company in 2020.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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