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New York State Comptroller Pushes Spotify to Strengthen Content Moderation

The state's pension fund investments in the streamer are worth $41 million, making it the 73rd biggest shareholder.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who manages pension funds in the state, sent a letter to Spotify requesting that it improve its content moderation, Reuters reports. The letter, reportedly sent on Feb. 2 asked Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to detail the effectiveness of its new content rules, allow users to more easily report content violations, and to define how Spotfiy’s board oversees content enforcement.

Pension funds overseen by DiNapoli held Spotify shares worth $41 million as of the end of 2021, according to Reuters, making it the 73rd biggest shareholder in the streaming service.

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“As we have seen with other technology and media companies who host or publish content, the failure to successfully moderate content on a company’s platforms can lead to various reputational, regulatory, legal, and financial risks,” DiNapoli wrote in his letter. DiNapoli cited reports that Spotify has been hosting content from Joe Rogan that included COVID-19 misinformation, as well as racist and antisemitic rhetoric.

Spotify has been under fire in recent weeks, as it continues to host and pay for Joe Rogan’s podcast, which has been heavily criticized for its misinformation around COVID-19 and most recently for Rogan’s past use of the n-word on the show. Artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have pulled their music from the streaming service. Spotify has said it will continue to work with Rogan as part of its $100 million deal with the former Fear Factor host.

Spotify has yet to respond to a request for comment.

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