A group of 270 doctors signed an open letter calling on Spotify, which has exclusive rights to air Joe Rogan's podcast, to take action against “misinformation” on the platform and increase censorship. The letter was penned in response to an episode that featured Dr. Robert Malone, one of the pioneers of mRNA technology.
The authors of the open letter disagree with some of the claims Malone made in the episode, such as the idea of “mass formation psychosis” and his allegations that hospitals inflate Covid deaths for financial gain.
Infectious disease epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital Jessica Malaty Rivera often debunks what she calls medical misinformation through her Instagram account.
According to Rolling Stone, she was alerted to the episode by some of her followers. She claims she was not only horrified by the claims made in the episode but also the fact that people in her life who she considered “quite wise and discerning” were believing Malone because of his academic credibility.
“When I saw they were falling victim to this, I spoke to some colleagues and we said something has to be done at this point,” she says.
Rivera helped co-author the letter, which calls on Spotify to do something to address the “misinformation” spread.
“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world's largest podcast and has tremendous influence,” the letter reads. “Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”
The letter has a lengthy fact-check of all the allegedly “false” claims Malone made in the interview.
“People who don't have the scientific or medical background to recognize the things he's saying are not true and are unable to distinguish fact from fiction are going to believe what [Malone is] saying, and this is the biggest podcast in the world. And that's terrifying,” said Dr. Ben Rein, a neuroscientist at Stanford who helped author the letter.
“Any podcast that platforms dangerous people, people spreading dangerous ideas and misinformation, should not be allowed to go unchecked on the Spotify platform,” says Abbie Richards, who came up with the idea of the letter. “We're not focused on something as small as just one episode or Rogan. They need to implement a policy and carry it out.”