Hundreds of scientists, professors, doctors, nurses and other public health professionals have urged Spotify to tackle disinformation about Covid-19 on its streaming platform.
In an open letter published online this week, the experts singled out an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” with Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease researcher who claims to have developed the mRNA technology used in some coronavirus vaccines, but an outspoken vaccine skeptic. They said Mr Rogan had a “concerned history” of making inaccurate claims on his podcast, particularly about the pandemic.
“By allowing the dissemination of false and socially harmful claims, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public confidence in scientific research and cast doubt on the credibility of data-driven counseling offered by medical professionals,” the letter said. . It also called on the company “to immediately establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform.”
Spotify declined to comment on the record. The company has said it will ban dangerous, false or deceptive content about Covid-19 that could cause harm offline or pose a threat to public health.
According to the letter, Dr. Malone promoted “several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines” in Mr. Rogan’s December 31 episode, including a widely discredited theory that civic leaders have “hypnotized” millions of people.
PolitiFact reported earlier this month that Dr. Malone has been banned from Twitter for violating the company’s disinformation policy against Covid-19, and that YouTube has removed videos of an interview he did with Mr. Rogan.
The show of mr. Rogan is basically a series of wandering conversations on topics like comedy, cage fighting, psychedelia, quantum mechanics and criticism of the political left. The show was licensed to Spotify in 2020 in a deal worth an estimated $100 million. Last spring, Mr Rogan drew the ire of the Biden administration and Prince Harry, another Spotify podcaster, for comments that undermined the value of vaccinations for young, healthy people.
As of Friday night, the show’s episode with Dr. Malone still streaming on Spotify.