Spotify has announced that it will now add a content advisory to podcast episodes that include virus talk amid increase scrutiny and backlash aimed at the company for promoting the spread of misinformation.
CEO Daniel Ek made the announcement via Spotify’s website, in an effort to clarify “the lines we have drawn between what is and isn’t acceptable.”
“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,” Ek wrote. “These issues are incredibly complex. We’ve heard you – especially those from the medical and scientific communities – and are taking the following steps.”
The steps, outside of publishing and pushing awareness of its Platform Rules, include the new content advisory, which will redirect listeners to “up-to-date information” about the virus from health professionals. Ek writes that it will soon “roll out to countries around the world in the coming days” and that he believes it to be the “first of its kind by a major podcast platform.”
“We take this seriously and will continue to partner with experts and invest heavily in our platform functionality and product capabilities for the benefit of creators and listeners alike,” Ek explained. “That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we are committed to learning, growing and evolving.”
Of course, the latest statement on behalf of Spotify comes as artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have taken steps to remove their extensive music catalogs from the platform, with Young citing what he believes to be Spotify’s inaction toward podcast host Joe Rogan over sharing vaccine misinformation on his show.
Mitchell also pushed an open letter to Spotify, signed by several medical professionals, urging the platform to adopt an anti-misinformation policy. The letter reads that during recent episodes of his program, Rogan “discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are ‘gene therapy,’ promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19… and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.”
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young wrote in his own letter to his team. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
We wonder if we’ll see more artists pull their catalogues from the service.