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As criticism of Spotify—and specifically, its ongoing support for its podcast The Joe Rogan Experience—has continued to spread in recent weeks, the streaming company has stuck to a single, clear line: Nothing Rogan has done—voicing his support for taking ivermectin to treat COVID-19, suggesting that the young and healthy shouldn’t get vaccinated against the disease, or, more recently, his (and, thus, Spotify’s) decision to platform noted misinformation spreader Robert Malone—has been in violation of the company’s own, unseen policies on medical misinformation.
Which do, as it turns out, actually exist. And, wouldn’t you know it: They set such a ridiculously low bar for actual “misinformation” that Rogan and his show have managed to actually clear it.
That’s per The Verge, which got its hands on a leaked copy of the guidelines (which have apparently been in place “for years”), and which we’re just going to reprint here in full. Basically, Spotify will deem an episode in violation if it contains:
Content that promotes dangerous false or deceptive content about healthcare that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health such as:
Denying the existence of AIDS or COVID-19
Encouraging the deliberate contracting of a serious or life threatening disease or illness
Suggesting that consuming bleach can cure various illnesses and diseases
Suggesting that wearing a mask will cause the wearer imminent, life-threatening physical harm
Promoting or suggesting that the vaccines are designed to cause death
So: As long as Rogan, or guests like recent buddy Jordan Peterson, don’t actually say that COVID is fake but you should go catch it, that vaccines were literally designed as a plot to kill people, and that we should all drink bleach to deal with it, his show is in the clear. (Oh, and you can’t say masks will actually kill you, although that focus on “imminent, life-threatening physical harm” does suggest a lot of wiggle room.)
Anyway: Congratulations to Spotify for upholding a set of alleged standards so loose that they annoyed Neil Young into jumping ship and into the arms of Jeff Bezos, of all people; the classic rock legend pulled his music from the service earlier this week, and pointed his fans on social media toward his catalog on Amazon Music, instead.