American comedian Jon Stewart defended Joe Rogan against accusations that he had contributed to spreading misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine in an episode of his podcast hosted on Spotify. Stewart also called a mistake and an overreaction to the move by artists to remove music from the streaming platform in protest at the lack of action taken by the company in the case.
“There is no question that there is blatant disinformation that is purposeful and hateful,” Stewart said Thursday in her podcast, hosted on Apple’s streaming service. “But I think this overreaction is a mistake.” The comedian also defended that the responsibility for moderating the content should lie with the platform itself.
For Stewart, the “disinformation algorithm” would be much more fearsome than the content on Rogan’s podcast. “Disinformation will always exist,” he defended, calling the social media algorithm “amplifiers and catalysts of extremism.”
“Don’t quit. Don’t abandon. Don’t censor. Get involved,” he said, adding that “there are rogue actors in the world” and that identifying them would be more important, in his assessment.
The origin of the controversy lies in a three-hour interview by Rogan with American immunologist Robert Malone, who drew parallels between Nazi Germany and the US today, citing that society was being “hypnotized” into believing in immunizations and sanitary measures. to fight the pandemic. The episode was published on December 31.
Days later, a group of scientists and health professionals told Spotify false data about vaccination and Covid-19 on the podcast, but the company chose to keep the episode on the platform – a move contrary to YouTube, which took down the content on the platform. official channel of the program and the attempts of other users to upload the video.
Subsequently, several artists decided to remove their music from Spotify, as a form of protest. The initiative was led by singer Neil Young and was joined by Joni Mitchell and the trio David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. Young alone had 2.4 million followers on the platform and over 6 million monthly listeners. The American media also reported that fans of the singer Taylor Swift have been pressuring her to follow the campaign.
Commenting on the controversy, Rogan defended continuing to welcome guests with “controversial points of view”, but said he was open to balancing those perspectives. “I don’t want to show just the opinion that is contrary to the current narrative. I want to show all opinions, so that we can understand what is happening. And not only about Covid, but everything”, he said, in a post on Instagram.
Spotify announced on Sunday (30) that all podcasts that mention Covid-19 will have links to factual, scientifically proven information about the pandemic – something similar to what happens on social networks like Instagram. According to the platform, more than 20,000 episodes related to the coronavirus have already been removed since the beginning of the pandemic due to misinformation.
“We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator freedom of expression [de conteúdo]at the same time that we have to balance it with the security of our users”, wrote the CEO and one of the company’s founders, Daniel Ek, in a public letter. content, while making sure there are rules and consequences for those who violate them.”
The podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” is estimated to attract about 11 million listeners per episode and, according to The Wall Street Journal, Spotify would have paid more than US$ 100 million (R$ 532 million) for the exclusivity of the show. attraction. The podcaster still has 14.4 million followers on Instagram and 8.2 million on Twitter. As a comparison, on these social networks, US President Joe Biden has 17.6 million and 32.3 million followers, respectively.
On Wednesday (2), President Jair Bolsonaro wrote a message of support for the podcaster, who, like him, has already advised against vaccination in young people, promoted the unauthorized use of ivermectin and is known for speeches considered prejudiced. Na mensagem publicada em inglês no Twitter, Bolsonaro diz que não sabe o que Rogan pensa sobre ele ou seu governo, “mas que isso não importa”. “If freedom of speech means anything, it’s that people should be free to say what they think, whether they agree or disagree with us.”
The president still asks: “Stay strong!”. And he ends the tweet with the expression “hugs from Brazil” — an unusual construction in English for greetings and farewells.