18 January, 2022

Follow the money Spotify makes streaming COVID misinfo

icon Covid,Joe Rogan,Spotify,vaccination
Follow the blood money Spotify makes streaming COVID misinfo as hundreds of Americans die every day

Over 2,000 Americans die from COVID every day. Yet, Spotify continues to stream COVID misinformation. Why? Follow the money.

"Hundreds of scientists, professors and public health professionals penned an open letter to Spotify urging the streaming platform to crack down on misinformation after an episode of the podcast promoted “baseless conspiracy theories” about the COVID-19 pandemic. - The Feed

This relationship map created with the free Kumu app, traces the reported $100 million dollar deal between Spotify and Joe Rogan to billionaire investors and advertisers including:

  • Four multi-billionaires on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the world
  • Firms that invest in both Spotify that spreads COVID misinformation and Moderna that provides a COVID vaccination
  • A CEO who advises 'Leadership commands you to speak beyond the merits of your business' but supports the spread of COVID misinformation through ads

Money trail

Spotify spreads Joe Rogan COVID Misinformation

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Doctor's demand Spotify curb misinformation

They highlighted an episode where Rogan interviewed controversial scientist and outspoken vaccine sceptic, Robert Malone, who was banned on Twitter for violating the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. In the episode, Malone cast doubt on vaccine safety, and accused Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’ top infectious disease expert, and mainstream news outlets of 'hypnotizing' the population. Malone said the 'hypnosis' phenomenon could also be used to explain the initial success of the Nazi regime. “Mass-misinformation events of this scale have extraordinarily dangerous ramifications,” the letter, signed by 270 professionals, said. “This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform.” - The Feed

Spotify - Joe Rogan

Spotify is a Swedish firm that provides audio streaming services worldwide. Its Ad-Supported segment provides on-demand online access to its catalog of music and podcasts. It has 345 million monthly active users and 155 million premium subscribers.

"Spotify's reported $100 million deal with Rogan gives it the opportunity to profit from Mr. Rogan’s enormous audience by giving another lure to advertisers, Ms. Liu said, “or, better yet, convert them to Spotify Premium subscribers. Since Mr. Rogan’s podcast began in 2009, his long-format interviews, which are often laced with profanities and his unvarnished observations about the news, have gained a huge audience." - NY Times

Health experts' open letter to Spotify

270 experts write open letter to Spotify to stop COVID Misinformation

Streaming COVID Misinformation

A “coalition of [270] scientists, medical professionals, professors, and science communicators spanning a wide range of fields such as microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and neuroscience” to pen an open letter to Spotify was an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience featuring Dr. Robert Malone (#1757) uploaded on New Year’s Eve. Their letter notes that Malone has been banned from Twitter for repeated violations of policies on spreading misinformation about Covid-19, and it’s also been reported that Youtube has already taken down third-party postings of the episode to its platform. The open letter demands that Spotify, where Rogan has an exclusive deal and the most listened to podcast, address its content: “By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals.” - MIC

Investors play both sides

Baillie Gifford and BlackStone invest in both Spotify, a platform that spreads COVID misinformation and Moderna which makes COVID vaccinations!

Baillie Gifford and BlackStone invest in both a platform spreading misinformation about COVID vaccinations and also in Moderna which makes vaccinations.

All hat, no cattle

The firms involved in this money trail have impressive slogans on their websites. But, it's hard to reconcile their slogans with their financial support for spreading COVID misinformation while the pandemic kills hundreds of Americans every day.

  • Leadership commands you to speak beyond the merits of your business. A lot of business is not about what you choose to do, it’s about what you choose not to do. A leader’s job is to tell the truth. - Ian Siegel, CEO Zip Recruiter
  • We are long-term thinkers, focused on helping people build a better tomorrow. We are deeply invested in the success of all of our stakeholders – our clients, our employees, our shareholders, and the communities where we operate – and we run our business sustainably and responsibly. - BlackRock
  • Our existing clients’ interests are paramount and we frequently close our products to new business to ensure that the integrity of our strategies and the quality of service are maintained." - Baillie Gifford

TakeAway: Hold corporations and billionaires up to their own values. Relationship maps make it easier to follow the money.


How to use this relationship map

How to use a relationship map to follow the money
How to use a relationship map
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