Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announces content advisory for podcast episodes discussing COVID-19

Daniel Ek, chief executive officer of Spotify, speaks about a partnership between Samsung and Spotify during a product launch event at the Barclays Center, August 9, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Joe Rogan has recently been criticized for spreading COVID-19 misinformation on his Spotify podcast.
The plaform published its longstanding platform rules after calls for more transparency.
Content advisories on podcast episodes discussing COVID-19 will direct listeners to more information.

In light of public backlash surrounding recent episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced updates to the platform’s policies on Sunday, including the addition of content advisories for podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19. 

“Personally, there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly. We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users,” Ek said in a press release. “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.”

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Podcast host Joe Rogan has been widely criticized for spreading COVID-19 misinformation on his show. In one recent episode, he interviewed a doctor who baselessly claimed US citizens were “hypnotized” into wearing masks and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 because of “mass formation psychosis.”

Psychologists have since debunked the doctor’s claims.

In addition to artists removing their music from the platform in protest of Rogan’s podcast, 270 scientists, healthcare workers, and educators signed an open letter earlier in the month asking Spotify to establish a clear and public policy on how it will moderate misinformation.

The company has repeatedly emphasized that it is trying to strike a balance between “freedom for creators” and the safety of its users, both in the Sunday press release and in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

In order to combat misinformation, Ek said the content advisories will direct listeners to the platform’s COVID-19 Hub, which provides information and resources from physicians, academics, public health authorities, and other “trusted sources.”

Spotify also published its longstanding platform rules and announced it will begin testing ways to help creators “understand their accountability for the content they post,” although Ek did not elaborate on how it would do so. 

“I trust our policies, the research and expertise that inform their development, and our aspiration to apply them in a way that allows for broad debate and discussion, within the lines,” Ek said in the press release.

Insider has reached out to Spotify for comment.

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Entertainment, News, Spotify, Daniel Ek, COVID-19, COVID-19 misinformation, Podcast, podcasts, Joe Rogan, Joe Rogan Experience, Misinformation

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