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Spotify Hit By New Controversy: Playlists That Actively Promoted Anti-Vaccine Tracks

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(Hypebot) — Songs claiming that Covid-19 doesn’t exist and calling its vaccine a ‘poison’ are not just available on Spotify but are being actively promoted on the streamer’s algorithmically produced playlists.

This lasted controversy arrives hot on the heels of three weeks of outrage and calls for a boycott of Spotify over its $100 million support of podcaster Joe Rogan despite his frequent anti-vax and racists statements and guests.

“Spotify isn’t just hosting and profiting from dangerous misinformation, its algorithm is proactively connecting disparate pieces of dangerous misinformation and packaging it up to listeners,” said Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the UK’s Center for Countering Digital Hate. “After the Joe Rogan controversy, much was made of Spotify’s supposed tough stance against Covid misinformation. It appears the opposite is true.”

An investigation by The Guardian’s Sunday Observer found tracks on Spotify that encourage people not to get vaccinated and say those who do are “slaves”, “sheep”, and “victims of Satan.”

“They fooled the whole world with PCR testing. The thought police are patrolling. Can’t you see what’s unfolding?” say the lyrics of one track. “The whole thing ends once the people have risen.”

Other songs include references to other conspiracy theories, “including claims that satanic pedophiles run the world, and that the Sandy Hook school shooting in the US, which left 26 dead, was a hoax.”

Edward Freeman, a UK rapper known as Remeece, had been flagged by Spotify users and the media back in November, but no action was taken. After the Guardian piece some tracks have come down.

Thus far Spotify has not commented on the latest controversy.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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