Spotify has White Supremacist Problem
Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the civil rights group, has revealed a report on an investigation about the presence of anti-Semitism and extremist content on the Spotify platform. Some links to extremist and white supremacist ideologies were more apparent, while some are under cover of lyric-less electronic sounds. A total of 40 white supremacist acts have been found with the likes of Fash wave (Electronic music that espouses white supremacist ideology), Rock against Communism (A sub-genre of punk that promotes racism and antisemitism), and National Socialist Black Metal (A sub-genre that espouses fascism and white supremacy).
Calum Farley, an ADL researcher, has said,” White supremacist content on Spotify is much more than they had discovered, and Spotify is flourishing the extremist content despite having anti-extremist guidelines in its content policy.” Calum Farley further stated that Spotify should have taken responsibility to crack down on hate Speech and extremism as done by other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter because they not only give access to music but also allows the users to share content and playlists with friends who may be from other communities. Moreover, a report stated by ADL in February 2022 revealed that Spotify’s platform rules were lacking and “loosely defined,” leading Spotify to update its rules and add a much more explicit anti-extremism policy.
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Music streaming giant Spotify prohibits content that promotes or supports any terror or violent extremism. Spotify’s platform prohibits content that promotes violence or hatred towards a person or a group of people on the basis of color, race, religion, gender identity, ethnicity, or any other characteristics associated with systematic discrimination. Spotify Spokesman said, “Company takes content concerns very seriously and we possess a variety of human and algorithmic measures to ensure that all content on our platform is according to our principles.”
Spotify representatives further stated that they had removed 12,000 podcast episodes, 19,000 playlists,160 music tracks, and 20 albums that violated Spotify’s content policy, including the content that has been referred by Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in its investigative reports. Spotify Spokesman further stated,” we are of the view that even with our innovations and investments when it comes to moderation, there is always more work to be done. For this reason, we have established Spotify Safety Advisory Council to help ensures our policies and enforcement mechanisms should be for the safety of our platform”.
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It was not the first time that Spotify has been under fire for not prohibiting hate speech and racism. In 2017 a news investigation discovered 37 bands with links to neo-Nazi or white supremacist groups, prompting the platform to remove them. In December, the company took down 150 hours of content after Sky News found anti-Semitic, racist, and white supremacist content in podcasts on Spotify.