Spotify makes council to manage harmful content

On Monday, Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N) announced the launch of a Safety Advisory Council to give third-party opinion on topics including hate speech, misinformation, extremism, and online abuse.

After uproar earlier this year over “The Joe Rogan Experience,” in which the podcaster was accused of spreading disinformation about Covid-19, the group signifies another step in Spotify’s efforts to deal with damaging content on its audio streaming service.

Representatives from the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C., the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and the Institute for Technology and Society in Brazil are among the 18 experts who will assist Spotify as it develops products and policies and considers new concerns.

“The objective is to bring in these world-renowned experts, many of them have been in this sector for a lot of years,” said Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s worldwide head of public affairs. “And to make sure we’re not talking to them while we’re in the thick of a crisis… Instead, we’re engaging with them on a very frequent basis so that we can be much more proactive in our approach to these challenges across the firm.”

The council is solely advisory, and Spotify has the option to accept or reject its recommendations. Unlike Facebook’s (META.O) oversight board, which chooses which instances to investigate, Spotify’s council will submit problems for consideration and criticism.

Many of the participants, like Kinzen’s Mark Little and Aine Kerr, have already worked with Spotify. Regional knowledge is provided by some, such as Ronaldo Lemos, who was essential in the creation of Brazil’s Internet Bill of Rights Law.

Spotify’s head of trust and safety, Sarah Hoyle, said the advisory board was founded in response to the challenges of running a global business at a time when dangers are continuously emerging, rather than in response to “any single creator or scenario.”

“How can we supplement the internal expertise that we currently have at Spotify by tapping into these guys whose life’s work has been researching this, and they’re on the ground in marketplaces all over the world, just like our consumers, just like our producers,” Hoyle said.

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