Spotify Announces New Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Public Policy

Spotify has introduced a new policy on Hate Content and Hateful Conduct geared toward content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

The new policy allows the company, once alerted to content that violates the policy, to remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or playlisting it on the service. Spotify also states that “it’s important to remember that cultural standards and sensitivities vary widely. There will always be content that is acceptable in some circumstances, but is offensive in others, and we will always look at the entire context.”

In a statement Spotify said: “We have tens of millions of tracks on Spotify, growing by approximately 20,000 recordings a day. Nothing makes us more excited than discovering and sharing that music. One of the most amazing things about all that music is the range of genres, cultures, experiences, and stories embodied in it. We love that our platform is home to so much diversity because we believe in openness, tolerance, respect, and freedom of expression, and we want to promote those values through music on our platform. 

“We’ve also thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally. We work with and support artists in different ways – we make their music available on Spotify and help connect them to new and existing fans, we program and promote their music, and we collaborate with them to create content. While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”

To help them identify hate content, Spotify has partnered with rights advocacy groups, including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate. They have built an internal content monitoring tool, Spotify AudioWatch, which identifies content on the platform that has been flagged as hate content on specific international registers.

The company urges users to report violations here that will be reviewed carefully against the new policy. The entire policy can be found here.

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About the Author

Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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