The chief of the World Health Organization chief has backed rock star Neil Young in his row with music streaming site Spotify over the spread of Covid misinformation.
The veteran rocker – who has sold millions of records over a lengthy solo career as well as with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – took his music off the site which also hosts the Joe Rogan podcast which has been known to air controversial opinions about the pandemic and vaccines.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, tweeted “we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic” – in particular social media platforms.
Spotify has said it “regrets” Young’s decision to remove his music from the platform.
The streaming service said it tried to achieve a balance, citing it had removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic and hoped to welcome him back soon.
Spotify said it aimed to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators”.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” the company said in a statement shared by US media outlets.
“With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators.
“We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.
“We regret Neil‘s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon.”
The Joe Rogan Experience was acquired by Spotify in 2020, reportedly for more than 100 million dollars (£77m).
Stand-up comedian Rogan has previously attracted controversy for suggesting the young and healthy should not get vaccinated.
The 54-year-old contracted the virus in September of last year.