By Nathalie Voit
Music streaming giant Spotify added a COVID-19 public health advisory on podcasts that mention the coronavirus.
The feature, first promised nearly two months ago, was just recently spotted on the platform for the first time on March 28. The advisory warning will appear as a thin blue tab on any podcast episode or other content that discusses COVID-19.
“We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19,” said CEO of Spotify Daniel Elk on Jan. 30. “This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics, and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources.”
The COVID-19 disclosures arrive after hundreds of health professionals signed an open letter to Spotify protesting against “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the streamer’s most popular podcast. The letter accused the Spotify-exclusive podcast of “broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the letter read. “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.”
The health experts called on Spotify to “take action against mass-information events,” noting the company “presently has no misinformation policy” on its platform.
The content advisory is the first of its kind for Spotify.