Why doesn't Spotify take a stand on misinformation about Covid-19?

Why doesn't Spotify take a stand on misinformation about Covid-19?

In an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most popular podcasts in the world, the host openly urged young people not to get vaccinated. And the most influential music streaming platform on the planet has not yet taken a stand on the fact

Joe Rogan (photo: Getty Images) The Joe Rogan Experience is, numbers in hand, one of the most famous podcasts in the world: it has existed since 2009 , has collected more than 1600 episodes and since 2020 - thanks to a deal worth 100 million dollars - it is hosted exclusively for Spotify by American comedian and commentator Joe Rogan. Over the years it has become a watershed in overseas public opinion hosting all sorts of voices, from Kanye West to right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and also the most listened to podcast on the streaming platform.

there was no controversy, however, like when Rogan (in episode 1509) indulged in some comments seen as transphobic, being defended by none other than Spotify CEO Daniel Elk. Or like when, immediately after moving to the music streaming app, the most controversial episodes of the podcast - with guests like Milo Yiannopoulos and Jones himself, invited in violation of Spotify's rules - disappeared from the platform. Today, however, Joe Rogan and his podcast are being talked about for a case of disinformation on vaccines and coronavirus: in the episode of April 23 Rogan in fact suggested that young people should not get vaccinated against Covid-19, completely contradicting the indications of the health authorities, in the midst of a pandemic that has already caused 3 million deaths worldwide.

“Getting vaccinated is mostly safe,” Rogan told comedian Dave Smith, adding however: 21 years old and you ask me: should I get vaccinated? My answer is no ”.

An anonymous source inside Spotify questioned by The Verge explained that the platform has chosen not to delete the content because it is not openly anti-vaccine, nor aimed at a call to action by its audience. Spotify has already acted in the other direction, removing the podcast of the well-known Australian TV chef Pete Evans for spreading conspiracy theories on the pandemic, and also banning a song by the musician Ian Brown, including a verse on the proverbial microchips in vaccines. Back then, Spotify made it known to "prohibit content on the platform that promotes falsehoods, deceptions and misleading theories with respect to Covid-19 that could cause damage offline and / or constitute a threat to public health".

So why does Joe Rogan get special treatment? The first explanation is the simplest: Spotify - which has not yet taken a stand on the latest controversy - has invested heavily in The Joe Rogan Experience, and now it doesn't want to blow up or undermine its most profitable show. What is certain, however, is that what its millions of viewers have heard has nothing to do with science: first of all, the unvaccinated put the people around them at risk, and even the youngest get sick from Covid-19, to sometimes maintaining symptoms for a long time. Pfizer vaccine is approved for use on people aged 16 and over, while Moderna from 18 onwards: if the world's largest platform doesn't help the vaccination campaign at one of its pivotal moments, who will?

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