Spotify Pressured to Stop Joe Rogan COVID Misinformation

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 250 medical professionals have signed an open letter urging Spotify to stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, specifically calling out the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast.

The letter said Rogan has “repeatedly spread misleading and false claims,” such as discouraging young people to get vaccinated, incorrectly claiming mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy,” and promoting the use of ivermectin to treat COVID, contrary to FDA warnings. The letter says the JRE has 11 million listeners and “has tremendous influence.”

The letter writers complained in detail about a Dec. 31 episode of the Rogan podcast in which Robert Malone, MD, was interviewed.

Malone is an immunologist who has become a right-wing favorite for his vaccine skepticism. The letter said he repeated several previously debunked claims on the Rogan show. Twitter recently banned him for spreading COVID misinformation, PolitiFact reported.

“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the letter said.

The letter said the Rogan podcast “is not the only transgression to occur on the Spotify platform, but a relevant example of the platform’s failure to mitigate the damage it is causing.”

The letter doesn’t ask for Rogan to be banned from Spotify but says the platform doesn’t have a policy on misinformation and needs to get one.

The letter writers call themselves a “coalition of scientists, medical professionals, professors, and science communicators spanning a wide range of fields such as microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and neuroscience…”

Spotify didn’t immediately reply to the letter, according to CNET. It’s unclear if Rogan has responded.

Sources

WordPress: “An Open Letter to Spotify: A call from the global scientific and medical communities to implement a misinformation policy.”

PolitiFact: “Who is Robert Malone? Joe Rogan’s guest was a vaccine scientist, became an anti-vaccine darling.”

CNET: “Doctors call on Spotify to stop COVID misinformation, citing Joe Rogan podcast.”

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