Following growing criticisms of the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast and its COVID-19 discussions, Spotify announced Sunday it will be adding content advisories to podcast episodes that discuss the coronavirus.
According to The Verge, the advisory would link to the platform’s COVID-19 hub, which contains up-to-date information about the pandemic.
In an effort to "combat misinformation," the platform will also be making its COVID-19 content policy and general platform rules publicly available on its site, saying any content creator who breaks the rules may have the content removed, and repeated violations could result in account suspension or banning.
According to the policy obtained by The Verge, Spotify prohibits content that says "AIDS, COVID-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real." The platform also bans content that encourages the public "to purposely get infected with COVID-19 in order to build immunity" and doesn’t allow content that suggests vaccines "are designed to cause death."
However, a line which is present in the internal document is not there in the version available on Spotify's website, which prohibits "Suggesting that wearing a mask will cause the wearer imminent, life-threatening physical harm."
"You've had a lot of questions over the last few days about our platform policies and the lines we have drawn between what is acceptable and what is not," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a blog post published Sunday.
"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...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," the Spotify executive added.
The move comes after numerous singers have pulled their music from the platform in protest of Rogan's podcast, with criticism skyrocketing after the popular podcaster had alleged mRNA vaccine creator Dr. Robert Malone on as a guest.
Joni Mitchell announced on her website on Friday night that she was removing her music, writing: "Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue."
"I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them, Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule," Neil Young wrote.