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Spotify and Joe Rogan: Streaming platform to add ‘content advisory’ to podcast episodes about COVID after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pull music in misinformation row

US interviewer Joe Rogan has addressed controversy over his Spotify podcast – as the platform announced it will now add a "content advisory" to any podcast episode which discusses coronavirus.

It comes after musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from Spotify because it hosts The Joe Rogan Experience (TJRE) podcast, which has included interviews discouraging young people from getting vaccinated against coronavirus and shared a number of false claims about the jab.

Prince Harry and Meghan later weighed in, claiming they expressed concerns about the spread of misinformation on the platform last April. The couple signed a multi-year deal with Spotify to host and produce podcasts in 2020.

Read more: Antisemitism, racism and white supremacist material in podcasts on Spotify, Sky News investigation finds

In a 10-minute video shared on social media on Sunday night, Rogan spoke out about the row for the first time, saying "a lot of people… have a distorted perception of what I do" and the two episodes of his show that have received particular criticism featured "highly credentialled" doctors.

Rogan said he is "interested in having interesting conversations with people that have differing opinions" and not just people who have "one perspective".

However, he concluded by pledging to "try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view".

Rogan’s podcast is one of the most popular in the world, with millions of listeners. Spotify acquired it in 2020, reportedly for more than $100m (£77m).

What has Spotify said?

The streaming giant’s chief executive Daniel Ek says it will publish its "long-standing platform rules", to be more transparent about "the policies that guide our content more broadly".

In a post on Spotify’s website announcing the steps being taken, Mr Ek says: "Personally, there are plenty of views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly… 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."

He then goes on to outline how any podcast episode about COVID will now be accompanied by a content advisory.

He writes: "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."

Mr Ek says the company will also begin publishing its platform rules, which were "developed by our internal team in concert with a number of outside experts and are updated regularly to reflect the changing safety landscape".

The rules tell contributors not to promote dangerous, deceptive, sensitive or illegal content on its platform.

The guidance adds that "breaking the rules may result in the violative content being removed from Spotify".

Mr Ek also said the company will "begin testing ways to highlight our platform rules in our creator and publisher tools to raise awareness around what’s acceptable and help creators understand their accountability for the content they post on our platform".

Spotify shares were more than 5% higher when Wall Street opened for business on Monday.

Sussexes won’t follow Young and Mitchell off Spotify

The statement comes as Prince Harry and Meghan said they will continue to work with the platform despite their concerns about misinformation.

The couple signed a lucrative deal with the streaming giant to host and produce podcasts, estimated to be worth around $25m (£18m), in late 2020.

A spokesperson from the couple’s charity Archewell said: "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."

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