CNN highlights health experts' calls for Spotify to stop enabling Joe Rogan's public health misinformation

Epidemiologist Katrine Wallace: “We would just like Spotify to have a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on their platform ... it is the responsibility they have to the public”

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Citation From the January 14, 2022, edition of CNN's New Day With John Berman and Brianna Keilar.

BRIANNA KEILAR (CO-HOST): Now, 270 health experts are calling on Spotify to take action, writing in an open letter, quote, “By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust and scientific research, and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals." Let's talk about this now with an epidemiologist who signed that letter, Dr. Katrine Wallace. Doctor, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Can you just speak broadly, I want to ask you about the moment with Joe Rogan, but, first, can you just speak broadly, with the large fan base that Joe Rogan has, what is the Joe Rogan effect on his listeners? 

KATRINE WALLACE (GUEST): Thank you for having me. Yes, a podcast of the size that Joe Rogan has, and the effect of misinformation spreading to such a large audience, they have sort of a responsibility to the public during a public health emergency to protect the public from this kind of misinformation and harmful information going to the public. And right now, we have 26% of our population that is still unvaccinated, and misinformation like this directly contributes to that. 

KEILAR: Is part of what he was making, though, the case against vaccines, was he was trying to say that there's such a risk of myocarditis for a certain age group with the vaccine. In fact, he was fact checked that the risk of myocarditis from actual COVID is many times higher. What did you think of his response to that when he then went on to say, oh, well, where are we getting this from? 

WALLACE: It's very concerning because, you know, Joe Rogan is an entertainer. He is not a public health or medical professional. And listening to, you know, there has been rare cases of myocarditis detected in young males after the second dose of the mRNA vaccines. However as the guest correctly pointed out, the risk in COVID-19 is far greater than with the vaccine, so actually with the amount of transmission we have of COVID-19 right now, we're actually preventing myocarditis by vaccinating because the risk is so much higher in COVID-19. 

KEILAR: Yeah. Eight times higher, you know, as we saw there. It was actually a very illuminating moment. So you sign this letter, how do you want Spotify to address his misinformation? 

WALLACE: We would just like Spotify to have a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on their platform, because as I mentioned before, we're in a public health emergency, so it is the responsibility they have to the public to protect them from this kind of harmful information. When information like this is on a huge platform, it creates a false balance as if there is two sides to the scientific information, and really there is not. The overwhelming evidence is that the vaccine works, and they are safe.