- 31 Jan 22
Spotify's decision to introduce content warnings comes after boycotts from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren in response to the spread of Covid-19 misinformation.
Daniel Elk, CEO of streaming giant Spotify, has released a statement outlining new platform policies surrounding the discussion of Covid-19.
The announcement arrives following boycotts from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren, who pulled their music from the site in protest of Joe Rogan's Spotify-exclusive podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. The podcast has been widely criticised for promoting conspiracy theories, particularly those surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine.
"Pick almost any issue and you will find people and opinions on either side of it," said Elk in the statement. "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."
In addition to comments from the CEO, Spotify has announced actions they plan to take in order to mitigate concerns on the spread of Covid misinformation.
First on the list is making their Platform Rules available to the public, which are a set of guidelines that were previously exclusive to Spotify creators. These regulations include definitions of 'dangerous content,' one of which being "content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health...asserting that AIDS, Covid-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real."
Additionally, Spotify plans to add content warnings on any material that discusses Covid-19, providing a link to a hub of resources that provides up-to-date information on the pandemic. According to the statement, this effort will "roll out to countries around the world in the coming days."
These actions come as more artists pledge their support to Young and Mitchell, including alt-rock band Belly, who changed their banner on the site to read "DELETE SPOTIFY." Their music remains on the platform due to contractional issues.
"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," said Elk. "That doesn’t mean that we always get it right, but we are committed to learning, growing and evolving."
Neil Young and Joni Mitchell both survived polio as children, before vaccinations were introduced to eradicate the disease.
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