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When Spotify signed Joe Rogan Experience to a hundred million dollar exclusive distribution deal this summer, practically everyone wondered how the audio streaming platform would handle next time. Rogan brought on Alex Jones, notorious conspiracy theorist whose provably false and harmful provocations got his ass de-platformed by several major tech companies, including Spotify itself in 2018. Rogan had proven willing to give Jones platform few times before, engaging conspiracy theorist in distinctly Roganian Youve said some crazy stuff before, but youve also said some controversial stuff. I think you were right about so it all evens out for me style of discourse that typically allows Jones to get off high volume of conspiracy claims with Rogan only contesting some of those claims to extent hes interested enough to do so. It has just under two months since Joe Rogan Experience officially debuted on Spotify for show to vault company into that fact controversy everyone knew was coming. Last Tuesday, Podcast dropped three hour-long episode with Jones, in which a conspiracy theorist, accompanied by comedian Tim Dillon, does all the things you expect from the face of Infowars. Heres Verge with partial summary: episode draws a ton of criticism and negative coverage, as you would expect, but as Verge points out, Rogan do again engage in some form of fact-checking, which does somewhat complicate the narrative around this specific situation, since Rogan advocates could argue that this isnt simply the case where Jones was give free rein to spread misinformation. Indeed, logic system do get little tricky for those who wish to structurally push back against Rogan here: Spotify denying Rogan the ability to give Jones appearance means that news organizations would not theoretically be free to engage Jones in properly fact-check Podcast appearance should they wish to do so and still get distribute on platform. Meanwhile, leaning on a framework where only news organizations get to do such things on platform means that someone has to designate who get to be news organization on Spotify, which can be a dicey proposition. That trickiness likely inform Spotify CEO Daniel Eks ' response to a question raised about the incident during the company earnings call last Thursday, which leans heavily on the notion of policy consistency. We obviously review all content that Go up he say. It doesnt matter if youre Joe Rogan or anyone else. We do apply those policies, but it is important to note that they need to be evenly apply, no matter if its internal pressure or external pressure as well, because otherwise we are a creative platform for lots of creators, and it is important that they know what to expect from our platform. If we ca do that, then there are other choices for creators to go to, so that consistency is super important.
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