Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have joined the chorus of public figures expressing their concern over Covid-19 misinformation on the popular music and podcast streaming service Spotify.
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation said in a statement that Harry and Meghan “have continued” to express concerns over the danger that can occur from such misinformation.
“Since the inception of Archewell, we have worked to address the real-time global misinformation crisis. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis- and disinformation every day,” the statement said.
“Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of Covid-19 misinformation on its platform. We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis. We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”
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The couple raised their concerns after singers Neil Young and Joni Mitchell asked Spotify to remove their music from the platform after objecting to false claims made about vaccines and Covid-19 on the popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Young issued a statement to his website demanding his music be taken down from the platform, telling Spotify “they can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy,” he said on a statement on his website.
“I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform.”
Only days later Mitchell did the same with a statement on her website titled ‘I Stand With Neil Young!’.
“I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” she wrote.
As the controversy grew, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek issued a statement on January 30 outlining what action they would take to tackle misinformation on the platform.
“Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time,” he said.
“We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about Covid-19. 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.
“This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days. To our knowledge, this content advisory is the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.”