Content warnings are being rolled out on Spotify before any podcast episodes that discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the Joe Rogan COVID misinformation fiasco that has seen multiple artists remove their music from the platform entirely.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek released a statement on Sunday, which said that the streaming giant wanted to find the balance between “supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users” without entirely censoring people.
“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,” he said.
Spotify made the move to include a content warning on podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19 after Joe Rogan was accused of spreading misinformation about vaccines and the global pandemic on his top-rating show, The Joe Rogan Experience.
In protest of Rogan’s content remaining on the platform, acclaimed folk artist Neil Young asked for his music to be removed, with many other artists including Joni Mitchell following suit. James Blunt jokingly threatened to release more music on the platform, which we can all agree is a drastic measure that nobody wants to become a reality.
Rogan published a response to the protest on Monday — a 10-minute long video posted to Instagram — where he said he would “do his best” to research topics, and “try harder” to get a range of opinions and perspectives on his show.
“I’m not trying to promote misinformation. I’m not trying to be controversial,” he said.
“I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations.”
Spotify also published its platform rules to its main website permanently. These rules have always existed, and are “updated regularly to reflect the changing safety landscape”, and are available in various languages for all users to access.
Ek said the platform will also be testing ways to make sure these rules are highlighted to the creator community. This will be so everyone’s on the same page about what’s acceptable for the platform, in an effort to make sure content creators understand their accountability to their listeners.