Hit hard by the Joe Rogan controversy, Swedish music streaming platform Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek has said that the company will now add content advisories to podcast episodes that discuss Covid-19.
The advisory will lead to Spotify’s Covid-19 hub, which contains up-to-date information about the pandemic.
The Covid advisory on podcasts comes after popular singers Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren had their music removed from the platform in protest of Rogan’s podcast, where he suggested that healthy young people don’t need the Covid vaccine.
Popular podcaster Brene Brown also said she would take a break from adding new episodes to her Spotify-exclusive shows over the Rogan controversy.
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“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,” Spotify CEO Ek said in a statement late on Sunday.
The new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days.
“To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform,” said Spotify.
The company said it would also begin testing ways to highlight its platform rules in its creator and publisher tools to “raise awareness around what’s acceptable and help creators understand their accountability for the content they post on our platform”.
According to the policy, Spotify prohibits content that asserts “AIDS, Covid-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real.”
“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,” said Ek.
“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.”
The Joe Rogan Experience’ is Spotify’s most popular podcast, with a reported 200 million downloads a month. The streaming platform is said to have paid $100 million for its rights.
In the past, Rogan had said he is “not an anti-vax person”, and that he believes the vaccines are safe and encourages many people to get them.