On Sunday Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the streaming giant would add a “content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19” amid a growing backlash from musicians over misinformation shared on a Joe Rogan podcast.
“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,” Ek said in a statement on Spotify’s website.
As part of that balance, Ek says Spotify will add a content advisory label to any podcast that mentions COVID-19, which will direct listeners to a “dedicated COVID-19 hub” that “provides easy access to data-driven facts.” As of writing, Spotify’s COVID-19 hub is a collection of three daily podcasts about the coronavirus, published by the BBC, ABC and Politico, respectively.
Last week, Spotify said it had deleted 20,000 podcast episodes it believed were spreading misinformation about COVID-19, including 40 episodes from Joe Rogan’s 1,768 episode catalog. As of Monday, however, the Rogan episode that kickstarted the current criticism of Spotify’s COVID coverage is still available, without a content advisory sticker. Spotify did not immediately respond to request for comment on why the label had not been added yet.
The backlash—or feedback, as Ek calls it—began earlier this month when 260 health care professionals wrote an open letter lambasting Spotify for an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in which guest Robert Malone “promot[ed] baseless conspiracy theories” on COVID-19.
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the professionals said.