March 24, 2023

Social media can’t escape content responsibility

Spotify Technology SA, an audio streaming company, has seen its market value fluctuate wildly over a couple of weeks and its chief executive Daniel Ek apologise to employees for the content produced by its star podcaster. The episode once again highlights that social media companies can no longer have a free ride. The content on their platform will have consequences.

The backstory is that the platform’s star podcaster, Joe Rogan, produced content that used racial slurs and is viewed to have fuelled Covid vaccine hesitancy. It led to veteran singer Neil Young asking the platform to stop using his songs as a measure of protest about the content it carried. Young’s decision had a cascading effect as some other musicians joined him in wanting their content taken off.

Read more: Spotify to add advisories to podcasts discussing Covid-19

The events were followed by a temporary collapse in the market value of about $2 billion, the chief executive’s apology and Joe Rogan’s promise of being more mindful of the content his shows generate.

All of which has led to more scrutiny about the free pass social media gets on content. Skepticism about their claim that they are only a platform promoting free speech and have no responsibility for the content they host is gaining ground.

Spotify’s problems won’t be the last such episode and social media’s free pass-on content will face more challenges soon.



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