Updated Friday, September 30th, 2022, at 1:35 p.m.
Just yesterday, The Root wrote about a new report from the Anti-Defamation League stating that Florida has become a hotbed for white supremacist groups, especially those involved in the Jan. 6th riot. Now, the ADL has turned its attention to the popular music and podcast platform Spotify. According to the Washington Post, a second report from the ADL states there are at least 40 white supremacist artists on Spotify, even as the platform claims to crack down on context that “promotes or supports terrorism or violent extremism.”
ADL investigative researcher Calum Farley stated that there’s more content than what they found. ADL Center on Technology and Society (CTS) had also looked at Spotify’s platform rules and found they lacked clarity and allowed the platform to skirt responsibility. The report calls on Spotify to fight against hate speech without gaps in its enforcement procedures.
“Despite adding explicit anti-extremist guidelines to their content policy, Spotify allows extremist content to flourish,” the group wrote. “Between the extremist content found in some artists’ bios, the white supremacist messaging in some band’s lyrics, and the white supremacist imagery found in the cover art, Spotify still has considerable work to do in implementing its new policy.”
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The ADL’s report highlighted how easy it was for an artist to become certified on Spotify while claiming the artists they found served as a gateway to other white supremacist content. Some song clips contained speeches from Adolf Hitler and talked about the “great replacement theory.”
“Between the extremist content found in some artists’ bios, the white supremacist messaging in some band’s lyrics, and the white supremacist imagery found in the cover art, Spotify still has considerable work to do in implementing its new policy,” the report said.
Spotify spokesman Adam Grossberg stated, “When we become aware of potentially violating content on our platform, our teams carefully review that content against our policies and take the appropriate action.”
Spotify also provided additional comments in how they combat hate on their platform and how they intend to keep doing so.
From Spotify’s spokesperson:
“Spotify takes content concerns very seriously, and we leverage a variety of algorithmic and human detection measures to ensure that all of the content on our platform is in keeping with our Platform Rules. Our team of in-house experts regularly reviews and takes action against violative content on our platform. In fact, since January 1, 2022, we have removed more than 12,000 podcast episodes, 19,000 playlists, 160 music tracks, and nearly 20 albums for violating our hate content policy globally. Much of the content referenced by ADL was found to violate our Platform Rules and was removed from the platform.
We recognize that even with our continued innovation and investments when it comes to moderation, there is always more work to be done. For this reason, we established the Spotify Safety Advisory Council to help ensure our policies, enforcement mechanisms, and partnerships address the needs of our community of global users, creators, and artists. We also remain open to engaging in a dialogue with organizations, including the ADL, so that we might benefit from their expertise and continue to improve the safety of our platform.”