Spotify is the latest major media platform to add guidelines about sharing correct information and spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and COVID vaccines.
In response to the COVID pandemic, many of the top media platforms have decided to release updates on the virus, as well as links, guidelines or other forms of information to their audiences.
For example, in early 2021 Instagram created two new COVID features: a link to local health authorities at the top of feeds for audiences in areas with surging case numbers, and a link to credible health sources appearing when users are searching for COVID information.
In addition, Instagram also began blocking hashtags that contain any vaccine misinformation.
Now Spotify, with 381 million monthly active users, is jumping on board.
On Jan. 30 Spotify made some changes to the platform.
First, Spotify decided to publish its platform rules for the first time.
Spotify plans to highlight the platform rules so that creators understand their accountability for the things they post, as well as to raise awareness about what is acceptable to post.
Second, Spotify has added content advisory to any podcast that includes the topic of COVID-19.
The advisory will link to Spotify’s COVID-19 Hub, where up-to-date facts and information will be posted.
Spotify declares on its website that this Hub is “the first of its kind by a major podcast platform.”
“Major media platforms largely influence the entire population,” said Viola Lindsey, professor of social work. “These large platforms have an obligation to share information on things such as the pandemic because they can reach so many. It makes it all the more important that the information they do choose to share, no matter the kind of platform, is always accurate and has integrity.”
Media platforms sharing information on COVID-19 can be controversial, with many people wondering why news on the pandemic is showing up on places such as their music app. Masha Sowell, sophomore psychology major, said she believes this to be the case.
“Spotify doesn’t need to release COVID information because most people will skip or ignore it anyway,” Sowell said. “Platforms should only share information about the subject the platform is being used for. Spotify can share information about artists or music news, but it should stick to that.”
However, Sarah Mandzok, freshman nursing major, thinks it was a good move that Spotify released more COVID-19 information.
“Spotify includes podcasts that discuss COVID, so there should be a way to access more information on the subject through Spotify,” Mandzok said. “It’s not the company’s purpose, but if the podcast is providing information, they should too.”
Lindsey said it is important for popular platforms to be responsible with the information being shared on their platform.
“Either way, no matter what type of popular platform, it is their job to release information that they have with
integrity,” Lindsey said. “Then it is on the consumer to decide if it is accurate or not. Users and viewers can interpret the facts and data they are given or shown.”