Spotify announced that they will be working to add a “content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19”. This follows the controversy surrounding one of the platform’s most popular podcasters, Joe Rogan, and allegations that he has been spreading COVID-19 misinformation on his show the Joe Rogan Experience.
Company CEO and Founder Daniel Ek said in a post on the Spotify Newsroom that the advisory will direct podcast listeners to Spotify’s “COVID-19 hub“. He added the hub will serve as a resource for “data-driven facts, up-to-date information” from scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world. Currently, the hub features three podcasts: BBC’s Coronavirus Global Update, ABC News’ Coronacast, and Politico’s Pulse Check.
Interestingly, Spotify’s CEO says that this content advisory is the “first of its kind by a major podcast platform”. While that may be the case for audio-only shows on a streaming service, we have already seen similar features by major social media sites like Facebook and YouTube.
Spotify says that they will also be publishing their “long-standing platform rules“.
“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,” he said, adding that these policies were developed by their internal team with help from “a number of outside experts”, and would be “updated regularly”.
Earlier in the month, musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, among others, pulled their music and content from the streaming platform in protest of how Spotify handled the alleged misinformation being spread on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Neil even gave the streaming platform an ultimatum, saying that they could have either him or Joe Rogan, but not both.
Considering the fact that Spotify struck a deal with Joe Rogan back in 2020 to become the exclusive podcast platform for his highly popular show, it didn’t seem likely that they would give it up that easily. In fact, Engadget reports that the streaming service attempted to defend its record against misinformation, claiming it had removed 20,000 COVID-related podcast episodes—though none of them were from the Joe Rogan Experience.
In any case, what Spotify has done here seems to be the bare minimum. After all, we’ve already seen most major social media platforms take similar action against the spread of misinformation. However, how much this will actually affect the content remains to be seen.