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White House urges Spotify to censor content over COVID-19 'misinformation' concerns

"It's a positive step, but there's more that can be done," Psaki said of Spotify's decision to add content advisories to podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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During the White House press conference, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the continuing controversy of Spotify and podcasting icon Joe Rogan in regards to COVID-19 dicussions, with Psaki encouraging Big Tech platforms Tuesday to censor content in order to fight "misinformation."

A reporter questioned Psaki about comments the Biden admin's Surgeon General Vivek Murthy made last week regarding Rogan's vaccine comments on Spotify.

"He said that tech companies have an important role to play in stopping misinformation because they are the predominant places where misinformation spreads, and Spotify is putting out advisory warnings on episodes that have to do with COVID-19," the reporter said to Psaki in the White House briefing room.

"Does the White House and the administration think this is a satisfactory step, or do you do you think that companies like Spotify should go further than just, you know, putting a label on there to say, hey, go do your own – you know, check this out, you know, there's more research you can look at, you know, scientific research, regarding COVID?" he continued to question Psaki.

"Sure. Well, last July, you probably know, but the Surgeon General also took the unprecedented step to issue an advisory on the risk of misinformation and public health, which was a very significant step, and amid that he talked about the role social media platforms have," responded Psaki.

"So our hope is that all major tech platforms, and all major news sources for that matter, be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19, and that certainly includes Spotify," the Biden spokeswoman added.

Psaki continued on to say that while the advisories that Spotify will display is "a positive step," the White House wants every platform to do more to call out misinformation and disinformation, while "also uplifting accurate information."

"I mean, look at the facts, right? You are 16 times more likely to be hospitalized if you're unvaccinated and 68 times more likely to die than someone who is boosted if you're unvaccinated," Psaki continued in the response.

"That's pretty significant. And we think that is something that unquestionably should be the basis of how people are communicating about it. But ultimately, you know, our view is it's a good step. It's a positive step, but there's more that can be done," Psaki concluded Tuesday.

In recent months, Rogan has come under fire for statements made on his "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast regarding COVID-19 and treatments for the virus. Most recently, two episodes featuring Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone have received the most backlash for their talks about the virus.

In response, artists like musician Neil Young and Canadian singer Joni Mitchell have removed their work from the streaming platform, with hundreds of "doctors" signing a letter calling for Rogan to be removed from Spotify.

"Dr. Peter McCullough is a cardiologist and he is the most published physician in his field in history. Dr. Robert Malone owns nine patents on the creation of mRNA vaccine technology and is at least partially responsible for the creation of the technology that led to mRNA vaccines," Rogan said in a recent video addressing the Spotify censorship controversy.

"Both these people are very highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished people, and they have an opinion that's different from the mainstream narrative. I wanted to hear what their opinion is. I had them on. And because of that, those episodes in particular, uh, those episodes were labeled as being dangerous -- they had dangerous misinformation in them," he said.

Later in the video, Rogan stated: "Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong, but I try to correct them whenever I get something wrong. I try to correct it because I'm interested in telling the truth."

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