Spotify to add Covid content advisory labels in response to Joe Rogan misinformation controversy

Move came hours after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle expressed ‘concerns’

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 30 January 2022 22:24
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Spotify says it will add Covid-19 content advisory labels in response to the backlash caused by the Joe Rogan misinformation controversy.

The streaming giant has come under fire from contributors such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, over a string of interviews carried out by Rogan on his Spotify podcast.

Young and Mitchell refused to be associated with Rogan and pulled their music off the platform last week.

“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,” said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Sunday, without mentioning Rogan by name.

“Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time. These issues are incredibly complex. We’ve heard you – especially those from the medical and scientific communities.”

Mr Ek said that his company would publish Spotify’s Platform Rules, which “guide all our creators.”

The company will also add Covid-19 advisory labels that will take listeners to a dedicated Covid-19 page, which will feature the latest information on the virus and pandemic.

“This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform,” wrote Mr Ek.

He added: “We will also begin testing ways to highlight our Platform Rules in our creator and publisher tools to raise awareness around what’s acceptable and help creators understand their accountability for the content they post on our platform.”

Spotify took action after weeks of criticism of Rogan’s interviews, which have been heavily criticised by scientists and public health officials, who had urged Spotify to do more toi prevent misinformation.

Young asked Spotify to chose between his music and Rogan’s exclusive content.

“Spotify has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about Covid,” Young wrote.

“I first learned of this problem by reading that 200-plus doctors had joined forces, taking on the dangerous life-threatening Covid falsehoods found in Spotify programming.”

On Sunday, Harry and Meghan’s production company Archewell, which has a deal with Spotify, said they had raised their “concerns” with the company, without mentioning Rogan.

“Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of Covid-19 misinformation on its platform,” an Archewell spokesperson said in a statement.

“We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis.”

“We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”

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