270 Scientists And Doctors Sign Letter To Spotify Over Joe Rogan Covid-19 Misinformation
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A group of 270 doctors, science teachers, and physicians have co-signed a letter asking for Joe Rogan’s podcast The Joe Rogan Experience to be disciplined for allegedly promoting Covid-19 misinformation.
This move comes after he interviewed controversial virologist Dr Robert Malone, who made wild and unfounded claims about the vaccine, and has been banned from Twitter for his promotion of misleading information.
Rogan’s podcast is the most popular in the world and has around 11 million listeners to every episode.
In fact, Spotify paid a reported $100 million to get the exclusive streaming rights to the show.
During the interview, Malone claimed – amongst other things – the idea that people believe that Covid-19 vaccines are effective because of ‘mass formation psychosis’, as well as claiming that hospitals have been financially cajoled into diagnosing deaths as having been due to Covid-19. One of the signatories to the letter is Jessica Malaty Rivera, who regularly shares health tips – genuine ones – on TikTok with her 380,000 followers.
Upon discovering that people who she believes to be ‘quite wise and discerning’ had heard Malone and seen his credentials before taking him at his word, she decided to step in.
She told Rolling Stone: “When I saw they were falling victim to this, I spoke to some colleagues, and we said something has to be done at this point.”
The letter reads: “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence,
“Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
Attached to the letter was a thorough fact-check of the information provided on the podcast.
Dr Ben Rein, a neuroscientist from Stanford University and co-signatory to the letter, added: “People who don’t have the scientific or medical background to recognize the things he’s saying are not true and are unable to distinguish fact from fiction are going to believe what [Malone is] saying, and this is the biggest podcast in the world. And that’s terrifying.”
Katrine Wallace, a University of Illinois epidemiologist, said: “Having things like this on the Joe Rogan podcast gives a platform to these people and makes it a false balance. This is what really bothers me.
“These are fringe ideas not backed in science, and having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue. And there are really not.
“The overwhelming evidence is the vaccine works, and it is safe.”
The letter does not demand that Rogan be taken off Spotify, or the episode featuring Dr Malone be taken down.
They simply ask for Spotify to develop a policy for dealing with misinformation.
The platform has removed episodes in the past for misinformation, despite it not being covered in their terms of service.
In a statement to The Verge last year, the company said: “Spotify prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, deceptive, or misleading content about Covid-19 that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health. When content that violates this standard is identified it is removed from the platform.”
LADbible has contacted Spotify for a comment.