After artists’ and World Health Organisation’s protests against covid statements, CEO Daniel Ek announced the company’s policy in a Spotify blog. “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.”
”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 that role, it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them”, Ek writes
The discussion started with musician, singer and songwriter Neil Young protesting against a statement made in a podcast by Joe Rogan about the value of mass vaccination against covid. Singer Jodi Mitchell joined Young and WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted his support for Young´s protest saying:
“Thanks for standing up against misinformation and inaccuracies around covid 19 vaccination. Public and private sector, in particular social media platforms, media, individuals – we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic.”
Young said that Spotify could have him or Rogan, but not both. Spotify answered indirectly by taking down Young´s music from its lists.
Podcasts have over the last few years become an increasingly important part of the company´s business.
Spotify said the company had taken down more than 20 000 podcast items related to covid since the pandemic started. However, no one knew what policy Spotify had.
A few days later Spotify CEO published a blog announcing the company’s policy including concerning covid information:
”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. This, in turn, led to questions around their application to serious issues including COVID-19.”
In the blog, Ek informs that the company’s policy is published on the company website and that it has been drawn up by an internal team and a number of outside experts. The company is also working on to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about covid.