Aug 1, 2018

Spotify removes Alex Jones' podcasts citing "hate content"

Alex Jones. Photo: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images

After pressure from users and a petition of more than 1,600 signatures, Spotify has taken down certain episodes of Alex Jones' podcast for violating its hate content policy, per Recode.

Why it matters: Facebook was hesitant to label Alex Jones as hate content because they take into account the broadest possibility of good intent by all users and pages, in an effort to protect users’ free speech rights. But, Spotify's audience isn’t nearly as big or as global as Facebook’s, so they may not feel they need to be as cautious at this point around making decisions that can massively scale.

The details: Users took to Twitter threatening they would unsubscribe from Spotify if the podcast was still on the platform.

  • Spotify has faced backlash in the past from users who think their policies have been too vague and thus they censor voices unreasonably — R. Kelly was taken off and then reinstated for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Spotify's policy states that it "does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation."

  • YouTube also suspended Jones from broadcasting live, and took down some of his videos.

The bottom line: Hate content is a different kind of label than misinformation because it can lead to violence. Facebook’s policy is also to remove hate content, but they tend to have a more narrow definition of what that is.

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