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After Joe Rogan Backlash, Spotify Forms Advisory Council to Guide Content Policies

The audio giant's council offers feedback to executives but will not make "enforcement decisions."

More than four months after Spotify faced backlash for allowing COVID-19 misinformation to spread on its exclusive podcast with Joe Rogan, the audio giant is forming an outside council to help guide the company on its content and safety policies.

The Spotify Safety Advisory Council is tasked with helping the company “evolve its policies and products in a safe way while making sure we respect creator expression,” according to an announcement shared on Monday. Though the council will offer recommendations, it will not make “enforcement decisions” about specific content or creators, allowing Spotify to remain the arbiter of its content policies and disputes.

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The formation of an outside council follows similar efforts from social media companies like Facebook, which launched its Oversight Board in 2020 to review specific cases and make decisions on whether to uphold or reverse penalties and other policy decisions implemented by Facebook. The board’s decisions are meant to be binding, meaning Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not allowed to stray from the board’s rulings, though the company is not bound by any recommendations made by the Oversight Board. Last year, the board made a decision on its first case and upheld Facebook’s decision to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform.

As for Spotify’s council, the group of outside members will only provide feedback to help inform how the company approaches its “high-level policies and the internal processes,” Spotify said.

Founding members on the Spotify council include the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Katherine Pieper and Stacy L. Smith, the Dangerous Speech Project’s Susan Benesch and Tonei Glavinic, the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Emma Llansó, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s Henry Tuck and Milo Comerford. (See the full list of members here.) The council is expected to expand over the coming months to increase its representation across different regions and dialects, as well as to add more experts focused on equity.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.