OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Spotify posted an announcement Sunday that the platform will publish its content policy and will add an information hub for coronavirus.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the platform’s decision comes in response to the backlash the company has endured from left-wing activists and musicians regarding top podcaster Joe Rogan.
The platform’s CEO made the announcement after legacy musicians including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell complained about claims Rogan made on his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” regarding the pandemic. Both Young and Mitchell removed their music from the platform, along with a few others.
“We have had rules in place for many years but admittedly, we haven’t been transparent around the policies that guide our content more broadly. This, in turn, led to questions around their application to serious issues including COVID-19,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote on Sunday.
“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,” he continued. “These issues are incredibly complex.”
Here are the moves Spotify is making (emphasis from Ek/Spotify):
- Today we are publishing our long-standing Platform Rules. These policies were developed by our internal team in concert with a number of outside experts and are updated regularly to reflect the changing safety landscape. These are rules of the road to guide all of our creators—from those we work with exclusively to those whose work is shared across multiple platforms. You can now find them on our newsroom, and they’ll live permanently on the main Spotify website. They are being localized into various languages to help our users understand how Spotify assesses all content on our platform.
- 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. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.
- 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. This is in addition to the terms that creators and publishers agree to governing their use of our services.
The Biden administration has also hopped on the leftist bandwagon and has begun pressuring social media firms to also take action against Rogan, including Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who commented on the issue during an appearance on MSNBC last week.
“Now, when it comes to how we root out the misinformation in society right now and give people access to accurate information, we’ve got to do several things,” Murthy began in response to Rogan’s statements and claims.
“Number one, we’ve got to recognize that our technology platforms, particularly social media, these have an important role to play. These are the predominant places where we’re seeing misinformation spread,” he continued.
“These platforms have still not stepped up to do the right thing and do enough, I should say, to reduce the spread of misinformation,” he added. “But each of us also has a role to play here because we all have platforms, and particularly if you’re somebody who has a large following, whether you’re an entertainer, a politician, in the media, it’s your responsibility, all of our responsibilities, to make sure that we are thoughtful in what we are sharing.
“This is not just about entertainment, it’s not just about garnering clicks. This is about people’s lives. And we have seen time and time again that misinformation costs people their lives,” he noted further.
“So, you know, we all have — this is not just about what government can do — this is about companies and individuals recognizing that the only way we get past misinformation is if we are careful about what we say and we use the power that we have to limit the spread of that misinformation. That’s going to be a critical part of how we get through this pandemic.”