Spotify to link virus content to Covid facts after misinformation line

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Stockholm (AFP) – Music streaming giant Spotify said on Sunday it would start guiding podcast listeners discussing Covid-19 to more information about the pandemic, following a row that saw artist Neil Young withdraw his platform music.

The move comes after artists, led by Neil Young, requested earlier this week that the streaming service remove their music or drop podcaster Joe Rogan after an appeal from medical professionals to stop Rogan promoting “several lies about Covid-19 vaccines”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also raised concerns about misinformation on the Spotify platform, but reiterated their commitment to continue using it to post their content.

“We are working to add a content notice to any podcast episode that includes a discussion of Covid-19,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement.

“This notice will direct listeners to our dedicated Covid-19 hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information shared by scientists, doctors, academics and public health authorities around the world. around the world, as well as links to trusted sources,” Ek said.

The “new counter-disinformation effort” will be rolled out in the coming days, he added.

Rogan, 54, has discouraged vaccination among young people and encouraged off-label use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat the virus.

$100 million contract

The podcaster, who has an exclusive multi-year $100 million (90 million euros) contract with Spotify, was kept on, and Spotify complied with Young’s request and began removing its catalog of songs.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex raised concerns about misinformation on the platform, but said they were “committed to continuing” with their lucrative content deal despite the “concerns”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have raised concerns about misinformation on the platform Bryan R. SmithAFP

“We have continued to raise our concerns to Spotify to ensure that changes are made to its platform to help address this public health crisis,” said a spokesperson for Archewell, the Duke’s organization. and the Duchess, in a statement.

“We look to Spotify to meet this moment and pledge to continue our work together as it does.”

‘Regret’

Spotify expressed “regret” over Young’s decision, but spoke of the need to balance “both the safety of listeners and the freedom of creators”.

Spotify’s decision drew applause online from organizations including video streaming platform Rumble, which credited the Swedish company with “standing up for creators” and standing up for “free speech”.

But Young, 76, has also received plenty of praise for taking a stand, including from the head of the World Health Organization.

The musician also urged fellow artists to follow his lead, and calls for boycotts and canceled subscriptions flourished on social media.

“Based on feedback over the past few weeks, it has 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 that guide us through this time without previous,” Ek said. .

Additionally, Ek said the company will publish its “platform rules,” which include guidelines for creators on what Spotify calls “dangerous” and “misleading” content.

In recent years, online media giants including Facebook and YouTube have come under fire for allowing conspiracy theorists to air their views.

But despite its explosive growth, podcasting has largely flown under the radar.

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