Spotify enacts new rules in response to Joe Rogan Podcast outcry

The steaming giant Spotify announced sweeping new rule changes on Sunday addressing “dangerous content” on its platform in reaction to the outcry over the Joe Rogan Podcast.

The new rules will apply to musicians, podcasters, and other contributors and seeks to curtail content that it deems “dangerous,” “deceptive,” sensitive,” and “illegal.” 

The streaming platform new rules stated, “Don’t promote violence, incite hatred, harass or engage in any other behavior that may place people at risk of serious physical harm or death.”

Rogan’s highly popular podcast on Spotify has drawn national headlines recently for content that expressed controversial opinions on COVID-19 treatments.

A recent podcast featured an interview with Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who was involved in early mRNA technology research. Malone had been banned from Twitter for allegedly spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. The interview was taken down by YouTube.

The episode featured Dr. Malone and a later podcast that featured Dr. Peter McCullough sparked strong reactions. 270 doctors, scientists, professors and healthcare workers penned an open letter to Spotify asking the platform to adopt an a policy against “misinformation.” 

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Legendary musician Neil Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify telling the platform to remove his his music or pull Rogan’s podcast. Spotify chose to remove Young’s music. Joni Mitchell joined Young in asking the platform to remove her music. Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren also pulled his music from Spotify.

“Content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health,” the new rules state.

Content that violates the rules may get removed from the platform, and repeat rule-breakers could be terminated. 

“Repeated or egregious violations may result in accounts being suspended and/or terminated,” Spotify stated.

On Sunday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek released a blog post on the new rules.

“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 said. 

“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. “These issues are incredibly complex. We’ve heard you – especially those from the medical and scientific communities.”

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