Spotify said it would add content warnings to podcasts discussing Covid-19 as the streaming service responded to its popular podcast, Joe Rogan.
However, the company did not remove the December 31 episode of Rogan’s podcast, which angered hundreds of doctors and scientists, as well as musicians Neil Young and Johnny Mitchell, who withdrew their music from Spotify in protest.
Rogan’s podcast, hosted by a virologist who is skeptical of coronavirus mRNA vaccines, does not meet the threshold for violating Spotify’s content policies, a company spokesman said.
“Based on the feedback over the last few weeks, it has become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to ensure balance and access to widely accepted information from the medical and scientific community that leads us through this unprecedented time,” said Daniel Ek wrote in a blog post on Sunday.
Spotify is controlling the damage after Young and Mitchell removed their music from their streaming service in protest of Rogan’s “lies”. The moves sparked a reaction online, where some social media accounts promised to #DeleteSpotify.
Ek outlined the steps Spotify would take to address fears that the platform was spreading false information about the coronavirus. He said Spotify would add a “content recommendation” to every podcast that discusses Covid-19. The Council will direct listeners to a new coronavirus “hub” that will provide facts and information, as well as links to “trusted sources”.
Spotify also publishes its internal rules for the content of its platform.
In addition to the rules on hate speech or harassment, the code states that violations will include “content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous fraudulent medical information that may cause harm offline or pose a direct threat to public health.”
Spotify paid more than $ 100 million in 2020 to bring the Rogan podcast to its service exclusively as it wanted to expand beyond music. Rogan has in the past invited guests to his podcast with conflicting views on the coronavirus and politics.
His December guest, Robert Malone, who previously studied mRNA technology and is now critical of these Covid-19 vaccines, was banned by Twitter and YouTube for violating their disinformation policies. In his podcast, Rogan said he was “worried” that Malone was “silenced.”
A group of doctors and scientists earlier this month called on Spotify to “moderate the misinformation” on its platform, claiming that false allegations made in Rogan’s podcasts had “extremely dangerous consequences.”