Spotify Announces New Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Public Policy
UPDATE: Since this posting on May 10, the policy outlined below regarding hate content and hateful conduct has been updated and Spotify is moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct. You can find our updated position here. While we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines.
We have tens of millions of tracks on Spotify, growing by approximately 20,000 recordings a day. Nothing makes us more excited than discovering and sharing that music. One of the most amazing things about all that music is the range of genres, cultures, experiences, and stories embodied in it. We love that our platform is home to so much diversity because we believe in openness, tolerance, respect, and freedom of expression, and we want to promote those values through music on our platform.
However, we do not tolerate hate content on Spotify – content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.
Today, we are announcing our policy on Hate Content and Hateful Conduct. You can read the whole policy here, but here are the basics:
When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or playlisting it on our service. It’s important to us that our values are reflected in all the work that we do, whether it’s distribution, promotion, or content creation.
At the same time, however, it’s important to remember that cultural standards and sensitivities vary widely. There will always be content that is acceptable in some circumstances, but is offensive in others, and we will always look at the entire context.
To help us identify hate content, we have partnered with rights advocacy groups, including The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Anti-Defamation League, Color Of Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), GLAAD, Muslim Advocates, and the International Network Against Cyber Hate. We also built an internal content monitoring tool, Spotify AudioWatch, which identifies content on our platform that has been flagged as hate content on specific international registers. And we listen to our users – if you think something is hate content, please let us know and we will review it carefully against our policy.
We’ve also thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally. We work with and support artists in different ways – we make their music available on Spotify and help connect them to new and existing fans, we program and promote their music, and we collaborate with them to create content. While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.
This is our first iteration of this new policy. These are complicated issues, and we’re going to continue to revise our Policy on Hate Content and Hateful Conduct. We’ll make some mistakes, we’ll learn from them, and we’ll always listen to you as we work to keep building the Spotify platform.