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Spotify Promises To Tackle COVID-19 Misinformation Following Pressure From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Photo:

Following the voicing of concerns about coronavirus misinformation by high-profile figures including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Spotify has announced regulations against the broadcast of ‘dangerous’ or ‘deceptive’ content on the platform.

A spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Archewell organization confirmed that the couple had expressed ‘concerns to our partners’ at Spotify last April, raising the issue of ‘the all too real consequences of Covid-19 misinformation on its platform’. He said Archewell continued to voice ‘concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis’, adding: ‘We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together.’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been outspoken in their support for vaccines and anxieties about misinformation, previously acting as Campaign Chairs for Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE event, while Harry was also a commissioner for the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, dubbed ‘an ambitious report on tackling the growing mis- and disinformation problem’. Harry and Meghan have a major partnership deal with Spotify, Archewell Audio, worth a reported £18 million. While some commentators praised the couple for speaking up against misinformation on the platform, some questioned why they were continuing to work with the streaming service in light of such concerns.

After concerns escalated in recent weeks, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s billionaire co-founder and CEO, has now confirmed that changes are being implemented on the platform. In a Tweet on January 30, he writes: ‘There’s been a lot of conversation about information regarding Covid-19 on Spotify. We’ve heard the criticism and we’re implementing changes to help combat misinformation.’ The Tweet links to a page from the Spotify Newsroom, entitled, ‘Spotify’s Platform Rules and Approach to Covid-19’.

In it, Ek states that Spotify acknowledges it has ‘a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users’, and recognizes ‘an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities’. He goes on to set out three steps Spotify is taking in light of these concerns, explaining that the streaming service is ‘publishing our long-standing Platform Rules’; ‘working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19’, which will ‘direct listeners to our dedicated Covid-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts… as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world’; and will soon ‘begin testing ways to highlight our Platform Rules in our creator and publisher tools to… help creators understand their accountability for the content they post’.

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