Just when you thought Neil Young’s ill-conceived boycott of Spotify over Joe Rogan was fizzling out, Prince Harry and Meghan step in to keep it fizzling a little longer. The couple – not known to be fans of people expressing themselves freely – have been “expressing concerns” to Spotify behind the scenes, warning of the “serious harms” of false information. The Telegraph has the story.
Spotify, which signed an £18million deal to work with the couple’s Archewell media company last year, has come under fire over the alleged spread of COVID-19 misinformation by other podcasters on its streaming service.
Prince Harry and Meghan have been “expressing concerns” to Spotify behind the scenes, it has emerged, with the couple warning of the “serious harms” of false information.
The revelation comes as the row continues about the platform’s marquee podcast – the Joe Rogan Experience – which has faced criticism due to the host’s alleged airing of vaccine-sceptical views and debunked claims regarding the treatment of COVID-19.
Prince Harry and Meghan have waded into the row, with an Archewell spokesman stating: “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.
“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.”
The comments from Archewell come after musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell demanded their music be pulled from the platform unless Joe Rogan’s podcast was removed.
Spotify removed Young’s music from the platform and retained the Joe Rogan Experience, which signed an exclusive deal with Spotify worth £82million in 2020, and is now one of the world’s most-listened-to podcasts.
The podcast has faced criticism during the COVID-19 pandemic for allegedly providing a platform for fringe views, including an episode with vaccine scientist Dr Robert Malone, who made claims about the dangers of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rogan himself has said on his show that the young and healthy do not “need” the vaccine. He later clarified that he was not anti-vaccine and stated: “I’m not a respected source of information.”
Last year he outlined his position on the vaccine, saying that he was “not an anti-vax person” and adding: “I believe they’re safe and encourage many people to take them.”
The problem with the call to ban ‘misinformation’, of course, is that the authorities have changed their messages repeatedly throughout the pandemic. Different authorities also say different things, with the U.S. health authorities claiming the Covid vaccines are safe for young children while the Swedish health authorities say otherwise. This means there is no sound definition of ‘misinformation’ that can be banned that guarantees only to forbid what is false. Instead, what the call amounts to is a ban on the airing of any viewpoint other than the currently officially approved one in a given country, right or wrong. But that is just Government censorship of dissent, and is clearly neither liberal, scientific, nor conducive to the discovery of what is true.
Worth reading in full.