Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Address 'Serious Harms' of COVID-19 Misinformation on Spotify

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex join a growing list of public figures who are calling on Spotify to address COVID-19 misinformation on the streaming platform

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expressing their concerns over misinformation tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and its place on Spotify.

Shortly after Neil Young pulled his music from the streaming service due to inaccuracies about COVID-19, Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, are now calling on Spotify to address the "serious harms" of misinformation featured on the platform.

The couple — who has an exclusive multiyear podcast deal with Spotify — first contacted the company to express "concerns" about "the all-too-real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform" in April 2021, a spokesperson for their foundation Archewell said Sunday.

"Since the inception of Archewell, we have worked to address the real-time global misinformation crisis. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis- and disinformation every day," the statement began.

"Last April, our co-founders began expressing concerns to our partners at Spotify about the all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform," the statement added. "We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis."

"We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does," the statement concluded.

Spotify Removing Default Shuffle Option on Albums
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Back in December 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced a "multi-year partnership" between Spotify and their production company Archewell Audio.

With the partnership, the pair will host and produce original podcasts "all with the goal to build community through shared experience, narratives and values," according to a press release.

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"What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction," Harry and Meghan said in a joint statement at the time.

"With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other's stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are," they added.

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Prince Harry and Meghan's call to action comes about after Young, 76, and Joni Mitchell, 78, each removed their music catalogs from Spotify. Their decisions to do so came about tied to misinformation about COVID-19 that was featured on Joe Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

Alongside Mitchell's statement on her website that she would be removing her music, the singer also linked to an open letter to Spotify in her post, which was signed by doctors and medical professionals. The letter claims that the Joe Rogan Experience — Spotify's top podcast — promotes "baseless conspiracy theories and has a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic."

Young also shared a letter on his website calling out Rogan's podcast. He wrote, in part, "Most of the listeners hearing the unfactual, misleading and false COVID information on Spotify are 24 years old, impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth." He added: "These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information. They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out."

Newsweek reported that the Joe Rogan Experience sees an "estimated 11 million people" tune in for each episode, though Spotify has not officially revealed exactly how many users subscribe to the podcast overall. Spotify reportedly paid about $100 million to acquire the Joe Rogan Experience, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A representative for Spotify did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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