A new council has been formed by Spotify to advise on censorship versus safety matters and issues. The music streaming platforms’ safety advisory council comes after backlash by artists over misinformation in regards to COVID on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
New Council Formed By Spotify To Advice on Censorship versus Safety
On Monday, Spotify said that it has created a new safety advisory council that is made up of organizations and experts that are focused on online safety to be precise. The mission of the council is simple; ‘to help Spotify evolve its policies and products in a safe way’ and at the same time still, respect the expression of creators on the platform.
The move is activated to help the streaming platform go through problems and issues where the freedom of expression is at odds with policing the most objectionable or dangerous materials on its service effectively and successfully. Earlier this year, that tension came into public view when misinformation in regards to COVID-19 on the popular Joe Rogan’s podcast triggered a handful of artists to take their songs off the music streaming platform (Spotify) in protest.
After e incident with Rogan backlash, Spotify immediately said that it did not want to take up the role of ‘content censor’. The company also publicly stated and published its platform rules stating the type of content that is not allowed on the platform. Spotify also carried out other steps in familiarizing artists with the set rules and how to enforce them.
Spotify and its Dilemma of Dealing Freedom of Expression with Effective Moderation
Spotify which is the biggest streaming platform both by subscribers and listeners is finding it hard to deal with a situation that other tech giants such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have struggled to deal with; which is how to balance the freedom of expression in hand with effective moderation of the most objectionable type of materials on their platforms.
In this matter, Spotify is faced with two major challenges while platforms like Facebook and YouTube must reckon with policing content that is independently uploaded by users on a very large scale. One of these challenges is that the platform is seeking to carve out an identity of neutrality after it has invested heavily in public figures such as Rogan who is controversial by standards and has an exclusive deal with Spotify estimated to be worth up to $100 million.
The platform however must navigate the changing attitudes in regard to the behavior of artists such as a debate the platform is having now over adding songs to its catalog by R.Kelly who is now a convicted sex trafficker.
What Spotify Has To Say About the New Council
The streaming platform on Monday said that many of the newly set up safety advisory council members have already been helping with providing the company with feedback. The members of this council will advise Spotify teams in areas such as safety-feature development, policy, impact, equity, and academic research. The council however will not make enforcement decisions in regards to specific pieces of content or creators, the company said.
The main idea of the council is that it helps to shape high-level policies and the company’s internal processes. With these processes, policies may be applied all over the world in a consistent manner, the company stated. Spotify also added that the council will be expanded with more members in the coming months.