A letter briefly appeared on Monday on Neil Young’s website that asked to remove his music from Spotify, according to Rolling Stone, in protest of the platform’s streaming of the podcaster Joe Rogan, who has been dismissive of the coronavirus vaccine.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Mr. Young wrote, according to Rolling Stone. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.”
He wrote: “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
The letter was addressed to his manager and an executive at his record label, Rolling Stone reported. It no longer appeared on the website on Tuesday morning.
Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Frank Gironda, Mr. Young’s manager, told The Daily Beast that Mr. Young published the letter on Monday. “It’s something that’s really important to Neil,” Mr. Gironda told The Daily Beast. “He’s very upset about this disinformation.”
Mr. Young’s letter appeared to add to the pressure on Spotify to take a stronger stance on vaccine misinformation. This month, hundreds of scientists, professors and public health professionals asked Spotify, which is based in Stockholm, to develop a policy to handle misinformation about Covid-19 on its platform.
In a letter published online, the experts wrote about a Dec. 31 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that featured Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious-disease researcher who they said promoted “several falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines.”
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the letter said.
It also said Spotify should “immediately establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform.”
The company, which says its podcast platform has more than 299 million monthly listeners, has previously said in a written statement that it prohibits “dangerous, false, deceptive or misleading content about Covid-19, which may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health.” The company added that it had removed content that violated its policies. But episodes that appear to violate those terms still appear on the platform.
Spotify is among the major podcast platforms that have done little to curb misinformation and disinformation from radio hosts and podcasters about the coronavirus and vaccines.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, said last year that it was removing all misinformation and misleading claims about vaccines, putting it in line with Twitter and Facebook, which also have policies aimed to limit the spread of vaccine misinformation on their platforms. YouTube removed the “Joe Rogan Experience” episode with Dr. Malone, and Twitter removed Dr. Malone’s account.