The Left Is Not Going to Be Happy With Spotify's New Remarks on Rogan Controversy

The Left Is Not Going to Be Happy With Spotify's New Remarks on Rogan Controversy
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

We found out that Neil Young and Joni Mitchell were still alive when they threw tantrums and said they wanted to remove their music from the platform because they didn’t like what Joe Rogan was saying on his Spotify podcasts about COVID. Then this weekend, the U.K.’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they were joining the liberal brigade trying to censor Rogan by putting pressure on Spotify.

Now, we’re finally hearing officially from Spotify. They’re officially weighing in on the subject, although they don’t refer by name to Rogan or any of the folks throwing tantrums about him. The left isn’t going to like it, and I’m not sure the right is either.

Co-founder and CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek issued a statement saying that they don’t want to censor people.

Pick almost any issue and you will find people and opinions on either side of it. Personally, there are plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly. We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users. In that role, it is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them.

Ek said they would be adding a “content advisory” label to any COVID discussion on their platform. They said 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.”

What are their “rules,” and what happens if you violate them? They claim they have “longstanding rules,” which they are now making easier to see.

Among the rules?

Content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health includes, but may not be limited to:

-asserting that AIDS, COVID-19, cancer or other serious life threatening diseases are a hoax or not real
-encouraging the consumption of bleach products to cure various illnesses and diseases
-promoting or suggesting that vaccines approved by local health authorities are designed to cause death
-encouraging people to purposely get infected with COVID-19 in order to build immunity to it (e.g. promoting or
hosting “coronavirus parties”)

What happens to rule-breakers? They say that they will be judged based on context. “Breaking the rules may result in the violative content being removed from Spotify. Repeated or egregious violations may result in accounts being suspended and/or terminated.”

At the end of his letter, Ek puts in obligatory obeisance to COVID panic, by saying that Spotify has contributed to education and donated to vaccine awareness.

Ek is trying to appease the tantrum throwers. It also sounds like he’s putting creators on notice that they could get winged in the future by the rules. That’s sad, and when you do that, don’t lead your letter saying you care about not censoring, when you start kowtowing to radicals who think they get to define what “misinformation” is for the rest of the world. But I would note there’s a big thing that’s not said in the statement — that is, that they’re not tossing Rogan.

If all the left was concerned about was misinformation, then the content advisory should satisfy them. But the problem is that isn’t what they’re after, because this isn’t really about “misinformation” — it’s about getting rid of Rogan. So, they’re not going to be happy with this response, and the fact that they caved at all to give a response like this may make them believe that they just have to push him a bit more to get Spotify to dump Rogan.

The company is going to find they started down a slippery slope with this. If Spotify wants to go down this road and comply with the left, they could end up sinking themselves.

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