Spotify has been accused of a lax response to remove white supremacist content from the streaming platform.
The report found that musical sub-genres embraced by these artists included Fashwave – electronic music that espouses white supremacist ideology, Rock Against Communism, a sub-genre of punk that promotes racism and antisemitism and National Socialist Black Metal (NBSM), a sub-genre of metal that espouses fascism and white supremacy.
The ADL noted that several of these acts, many of which it says shared links to “other extremist spaces” directly in their profiles, are “verified” artists on Spotify, giving them licence to use the platform’s built-in tools to help surface their music on playlists.
The report claimed that a keyword search on Spotify for the term Fashwave turned up in a total of 72 playlists created by the platform’s users, with titles such as 14/88 (a white supremacist code) and Right Wing Death Squad.
It also highlighed instances of Spotify-generated algorithmic playlists curated for individual users that incorporate white supremacist content. Despite contravening the anti-extremist guidelines in Spotify’s content policy, such content has flourished on the platform, according to the report.
A previous report in February, found that Spotify’s platform rules were lacking and “loosely defined,” leading Spotify to update those rules to add “a much more explicit anti-extremism policy.”
But the ADL said in its new report that those rules “do not appear to be strictly enforced” and “Spotify still has considerable work to do in implementing its new policy.”
Users wishing to flag extremist content can do so only on the Spotify desktop app, though Spotify claims it will add a reporting method to the mobile app.
In a statement to Billboard, a Spotify spokesperson said the company “takes content concerns very seriously” and uses both “algorithmic and human detection measures” to monitor content.
They also claimed Spotify had removed 12,000 podcast episodes, 19,000 playlists, 160 songs, and “nearly 20” albums that violated Spotify’s policies against hate content.
NME has reached out to Spotify for further comment.
Meanwhile, in February, Spotify removed dozens of The Joe Rogan Experience episodes in response to the backlash over him using the N-word in previous episodes. The streaming giant also said that it would add content advisories to all episodes that contain COVID misinformation.
Rogan became embroiled in controversy recently after Neil Young demanded his music be removed from Spotify if the platform wasn’t willing to remove podcast episodes in which Rogan had broadcasted dangerous misinformation over the COVID vaccines.