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Spotify to Add ‘Content Advisory’ Warnings to Podcasts With Covid Discussion

Streaming service plans to “combat misinformation” but won’t “take on the position of being content censor” in aftermath of Neil Young’s exit

Daniel Kreps Jan 31, 2022

Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the aftermath of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren pulling their music from Spotify, the streaming service announced plans Sunday to add a “content advisory” warning to any podcasts that feature discussion about Covid-19.

In a post on Spotify’s For the Record blog, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote that while “there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly… it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor.”

Ek added that Spotify has its own platform policies that dictate “what is acceptable and what is not.” (Ek’s post does not specifically name The Joe Rogan Experience — which was protested by over 270 medical professionals even before Young’s stance, and the likely catalyst for the “content advisory” — nor does it acknowledge the artists who have so far pulled their music off the streaming service.)

In the newly published Platform Rules, Spotify bars its contributors from “content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health.” Under those guidelines, that includes “asserting that AIDS, COVID-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real,” “encouraging the consumption of bleach products to cure various illnesses and diseases,” and “promoting or suggesting that vaccines approved by local health authorities are designed to cause death.”

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“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,” Ek wrote.

“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.”

Ek added that Spotify’s measures to “combat misinformation” would roll out worldwide in the coming days.

On Tuesday, Young became the first high-profile artist to demand that their catalog be removed from Spotify “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. “They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.”

Joni Mitchell joined Young in protest Friday night, with Crazy Horse and E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren also removing his music this weekend.

“We encourage all musicians, artists and music lovers everywhere, to stand with us all, and cut ties with Spotify,” Lofgren said in a statement Saturday. “Music is our planet’s sacred weapon, uniting and healing billions of souls every day. Pick up your sword and start swinging. Neil always has. Stand with him, us (Joni Mitchell!) and others. It’s a powerful action you can all take now, to honor truth, humanity, and the heroes risking their lives every day to save ours.”

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From Rolling Stone US.


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