Liberal Press: Openly Calls For End To Free Speech

Joe Rogan shows the state must step in to control falsehoods — on Spotify and elsewhere

When wildly popular podcaster Joe Rogan hosted Canadian firebrand Jordan Peterson recently, Peterson opened the interview with incoherent, stridently wrong ramblings about climate change.

That, unfortunately, is pretty de rigueur on Rogan’s show. Whether about climate change, COVID-19 vaccines, or lockdowns, Rogan’s open-ended approach has seen his show peddle all sorts of wild conspiracy theories.

It’s also why everyone has been talking about Neil Young’s very public request to have his music removed from Spotify, the music streaming company that also has a $100-million (U.S.) contract with Rogan to make his podcast exclusive to its platform. Young was joined by Joni Mitchell as well as Crosby, Stills and Nash, and the episode predictably spun out into a debate about censorship and free speech.

At the core of the conversation, though, is a difficult question: what role do digital platforms have in policing the content that appears on their services?

For their part, Spotify has a pretty clear answer. In a tense town-hall meeting at the company this week, CEO Daniel Ek stated the Spotify is a platform, not a publisher. Since Spotify doesn’t get to approve Rogan’s content, Ek stated, it doesn’t condone whatever ideas get espoused on the show.

It’s not a terribly convincing argument, not least because Spotify has that $100-million contract to make Rogan’s show exclusive to its platform. As Ek stated in the meeting, the decision to sign Rogan was made because the company needed to differentiate itself.

Put another way, Spotify may not explicitly approve Rogan’s content, but it certainly does so implicitly. After all, there is a marked difference between a company that merely hosts content and one that pays for it in order to promote itself. Continue

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