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Doctors call on Spotify to stop COVID misinformation, citing Joe Rogan podcast

The platform is helping "damage public trust in scientific research," according to a letter signed by hundreds of medical professionals.

Joe Rogan has a long history of cynicism toward scientifically established health advice regarding COVID-19.
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More than 250 medical professionals have signed an open letter calling on Spotify to clamp down on COVID misinformation spreading on its platform, specially calling out the podcast of comedian Joe Rogan.

The letter took issue with the Dec. 31 episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which featured Dr. Robert Malone, an immunologist who claims to have created the mRNA technology but is now a vocal skeptic of the vaccines that use it.

"By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals," the letter reads.

"This is not only a scientific or medical concern; it is a sociological issue of devastating proportions and Spotify is responsible for allowing this activity to thrive on its platform," the letter says.

The letter, which was first reported Wednesday by Rolling Stone, goes on to catalog what the signers said are additional instances of COVID-19 falsehoods promoted on Rogan's podcast.

Rogan, who has about 11 million people actively listen, has a long history of cynicism toward scientifically established health advice regarding COVID-19. He's questioned the use of masks and promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID remedy on his show.

Social media companies have been taking an increasingly harder line on misinformation in recent years, particularly as it relates to the spread of COVID misinformation. Twitter has begun labeling any tweets that may contain misleading information about the COVID-19 vaccines and banned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green for spreading vaccine misinformation.

Google-owned YouTube has also stepped up its fight against misinformation by banning COVID vaccine misinformation and anti-vax misinformation and removing more than 1 million videos in 2021 related to COVID misinformation.

Spotify didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but in the past it has taken down content for spreading COVID-19 misinformation, most notably removing podcaster Pete Evans from the service.