Report finds dozens of white supremacist artists are flocking to Spotify

Unsuspecting tech buffs searching Spotify for new music might come across an unwelcome surprise: a letter from Adolf Hitler.

A new report from the civil rights group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has exposed dozens of white supremacists and supremacists. neo-nazi Bands distribute their music on the popular streaming platform Spotify.

According to the report from the ADL Center on Extremism, Spotify has “refused” to take action on this content. ADL warned Spotify said its platform policies were inadequate and that many of its rules were “loosely defined” back in February of this year. While the music streaming giant did Modernization The civil rights group, following the Anti-Defamation League report, says its rules “do not appear to be strictly enforced”.

On top of the obvious issue of lack of enforcement, users who want to report prohibited content can only do so on the platform’s desktop app as per the ADL. This is almost certainly an obstacle to the implementation of such policies as the vast majority From the Spotify user base listening via the company’s mobile apps.

ADL exposed 40 white supremacist artists on Spotify platform. However, as ADL investigative researcher Callum Farley told Washington Post, “There will likely be more.” The artists run a gamut of popularity with some of them being followed by thousands of platform users. Some artist accounts have been verified by Spotify.

Music spanned genres, from punk to technical to metal. The songs included a range of different references to white supremacy in their lyrics. The DJ who included Hitler’s said speech in one of his songs, for example, has another track on anti-Semitic and xenophobic conspiracy theory, which includes a letter from Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Pictures found on his profile on the far-right social network show Gap, the artist behind the song covered in white supremacist tattoos and performing a Nazi salute.

Spotify playlists are also a big problem, according to the ADL report. A new Nazi metal band has found themselves included in the “Black Metal Essentials” public playlist curated by Spotify itself. ADL’s extremism researchers have also discovered that the platform will recommend users to “mix” playlists full of white supremacist music, which are curated by Spotify’s algorithms based on users’ listening history.

And the album cover art and playlist of these white supremacist bands don’t mask their hateful ideologies either. The report revealed images depicting the neo-Nazi black sun symbol known as “Sunenrad”, as well as the Iron Cross and photographs of baby frog.

Spotify has previously been criticized for hosting white supremacist music. In 2017, the company Removal Dozens of these bands from their platform, but the biggest problem remains. One of the main concerns is that discovering these bands on the platform could lead users to search for more information regarding hate speech posted in the lyrics, sending them into a pit of extremist content.

“Spotify still has a lot to do in implementing its new policy,” ADL says.

Update: Sep 23 2022 at 2:17 PM PDT

After this story was published, Spotify spokesperson Adam Grosberg provided the following statement to Mashable:

“Spotify takes content concerns very seriously, and we leverage a variety of algorithmic and human detection measures to ensure all content on our platform complies with our platform rules.

Our in-house team of experts regularly reviews and takes action against infringing content on our platform. In fact, since January 1, 2022, we have removed more than 12,000 podcast episodes, 19,000 playlists, 160 music tracks, and nearly 20 albums for violating our global hate content policy. Much of the content referenced by the ADL was found to violate our platform rules and was removed from the platform.

We know that even as we continue to innovate and invest, when it comes to moderation, there is always more work to be done. For this reason, we created the Spotify Safety Advisory Board to help ensure our policies, application mechanisms, and partnerships meet the needs of our community of global users, creators, and artists. We also remain open to engaging in dialogue with organizations, including ADL, so that we can benefit from their expertise and continue to improve the security of our platform.”

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