Spotify is not your fact checker
Rebecca Caraway is a junior journalist and opinion columnist for Mustang News. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
On December 31, 2021, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast released its 1,757th episode featuring Dr. Robert Malone. 270 medical professionals expressed concern that the episode “promoted baseless conspiracy theories” surrounding COVID-19.
In an open letter to spotify, hundreds of medical professionals demanded the removal of The Joe Rogan Experience.
Should Spotify listen to them?
“By allowing the spread of false and socially harmful claims, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to undermine public trust in scientific research and cast doubt on the credibility of data-based advice offered by professionals. of health,” the letter reads.
The letter argues that because the podcast averages 11 million listeners, Spotify has a responsibility to stop this massive spread of misinformation.
After the publication of the open letter, musician Neil Young decided to remove his music from the Spotify platform. A few days later, Joni Mitchelle announced that she would do the same.
“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people’s lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” Mitchelle wrote on his website.
Let’s say Spotify listens to these artists and removes the most listened to podcast in the United States. Rogan will simply take its 11 million listeners elsewhere. Removing his voice from one platform will give another platform a chance to get him back. At this point, Rogan could create his own platform, and his devoted listeners would likely follow.
Removing a voice from a platform does not remove the voice. President Donald Trump has been banned or suspended from nearly every major social media platform, but that hasn’t diminished his influence. Trump is now releasing his own social media app: “Truth Social”. Those who still support the former president will likely follow him on this app and whatever else he can do. Rogan could do the same.
Whether The Joe Rogan Experience is deleted from Spotify, its listeners are not going to change their minds about vaccines. If anything, they will double. People already wary of the vaccine won’t change their minds because Spotify is removing Rogan’s podcast and Spotify knows it.
From Spotify’s point of view, deleting The Joe Rogan Experience would be a terrible business decision. The Joe Rogan Experience has 11 million listeners. As of February 20, Niel Young had 4,267,876 listeners, according to his Spotify profile, and Joni Mitchell had 2,073,353 monthly listeners. Take a look at these numbers. If it’s between them and Rogan, who do you think Spotify will choose?
And why shouldn’t they choose Rogan? Spotify is first and foremost a business. It is not an information site or a scholarly web page. Is it really their job to check the facts? If Kanye West sings about how Hillary Clinton eats babies and Donald Trump is going to save America, is it Spotify’s job to verify his song?
I’m not saying I agree with Rogan — I don’t even like him or his show. However, I can agree that Spotify is a company, not a fact checker. Spotify spent $100 million on Rogan; they’ll let him say whatever he wants, and I don’t blame them.
Spotify has its fair share of problems, like not paying artists enough for their work, but it’s a problem we shouldn’t blame Spotify for. Facebook and Instagram have chosen to notify their users if a post they are viewing contains false information, but these pop-ups do not change their minds. It’s just for show, so Instagram and Facebook can say they’re doing something. It doesn’t matter what Instagram, Facebook, Rogan or Spotify say –– in the end, people are going to believe what they want.