Spotify is adding COVID-19 content advisories following recent controversial content. The streaming giant says it will now add COVID-19 content advisories to podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19. The decision came on the heels of recent criticism of the streaming giant’s handling of the controversial content in the Joe Rogan Experience. Users will be able to access credible and up-to-date information about the pandemic when they visit Spotify’s COVID-19 hub.
The company says it will increase transparency on how it treats the pandemic by making its COVID-19 content policy and general platform rules publicly available. According to Spotify, anyone who violates the rules may have the content in question taken down. According to an internal memo as spotted by The Verge, Joe Rogan’s podcast did not “meet the threshold for removal.”
The Spotify policy prohibits content that asserts “AIDS, COVID-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real.” The streaming platform also bans content that encourages people “to purposely get infected with COVID-19 in order to build immunity” and doesn’t allow content that suggests vaccines “are designed to cause death.”
In a blog post, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says: “You’ve had a lot of questions over the last few days about our platform policies and the lines we have drawn between what is acceptable and what is not. 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…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.”
There have been backlashes as regard Joe Rogan’s podcast—a couple of popular artists like Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell have had to remove their music from Spotify in response.
Rogan’s apology. Following the controversies, Joe Rogan has uploaded a new video where he defended his decision to book contentious guests. That said, he went ahead to issue an apology to Spotify:
“These podcasts are very strange because they’re just conversations,” Rogan says. “And oftentimes I have no idea what I’m going to talk about until I sit down and talk to people. And that’s why some of my ideas are not that prepared or fleshed out because I’m literally having them in real time, but I do my best and they’re just conversations, and I think that’s also the appeal of the show. It’s one of the things that makes it interesting. So, I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time, and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much from it.”