Spotify said Sunday that it will add an advisory to podcasts that discuss COVID-19. The announcement comes after artists Neil Young and Joni Mitchell decided to leave the streaming service due to COVID-19 misinformation on the platform.
“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,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a statement.
The advisory will direct listeners to its “COVID-19 Hub” — “a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources,” Ek said. The advisory is set to be implemented around the world “in the coming days.”
On Tuesday, Young was the first to announce he was pulling his music from Spotify, saying that he did not want to be on the same platform as podcaster Joe Rogan, who has expressed skepticism over COVID-19 vaccines, said he took ivermectin after testing positive for the virus himself and recently had on a controversial guest who claimed roughly one-third of the population is “basically being hypnotized” and compared the U.S.’s pandemic response to Nazi Germany. “The Joe Rogan Experience” has an exclusive deal with Spotify.
“[Neil Young], thanks for standing up against misinformation and inaccuracies around #COVID19 vaccination,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted Thursday. “Public and private sector, in particular #socialmedia platforms, media, individuals – we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic.”
Following Young’s action last week, Spotify said it had policies in place to remove misleading content from its platform, and has removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Spotify on Sunday also published its platform rules, which are the “rules of the road to guide all of our creators,” Ek wrote. The policies were already in place, but the platform had never shared them with the public.
“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,” Ek said.
Spotify said it plans to highlight its policies “to raise awareness around what’s acceptable and help creators understand their accountability for the content they post on our platform.”
Caitlin O’Kane contributed reporting.