Spotify joins the anti-Alex Jones club
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Spotify joins the anti-Alex Jones club

Spotify has become the latest digital platform to blacklist notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Following on from similar bans on both Facebook and YouTube, it’s a sign that the company is willing to curtail “Islamaphobic and transphobic” hate speech, as well as “fake news”. That’s an important position given the backlash we witnessed against Facebook and others earlier this year, when law makers and the public agreed that some of these platforms aren’t exercising enough due diligence as to what content appears on their platforms.

Spotify’s share price has risen by 18% so far this year

graph 0708 spotify

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

In a straightforward statement, a spokeswoman for Spotify said: “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community. Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy.”

The company did not explain which episodes were removed, or the specific terms of the policy which was violated, but online publication TechCrunch speculated that it could be the following: “content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

Later in the week, users complained again that Spotify hadn’t removed all of Jones’s content. It’s not clear, yet, how seriously the company is taking these calls for deletion, but there’s no doubt that Jones is a contentious figure, who doesn’t put tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting out of bounds.

If Spotify wants to keep up with its target of the coming quarter of growing its premium customer base by as much as 43%, the debate over freedom of speech versus digital safety zones is one it has to get right.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Spotify in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.


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