Media regulators eye EU rules to stifle misinformation on Spotify – Reuters


European media regulators are eyeing upcoming EU content rules as a way to stifle misinformation on Spotify.

Spotify has faced widespread criticism for failing to address health and climate lies as well as hateful content on its platform.

“We should hold them accountable not as a publisher but like any other online platform in the Digital Services Act,” Frédéric Bokobza, deputy director general of France’s media regulator Arcom, told POLITICO. .

The issue has come to the fore as the EU finalizes the DSA, its online content moderation regulation, which aims to crack down on illegal content and make digital businesses more open about the algorithms they use to recommend and promote content. Platforms reaching more than 45 million European users will also face more obligations to fight disinformation, or risk fines of billions of euros.

The bill will allow authorities, including national media regulators, to better oversee a whole new list of digital companies streaming and hosting content, from cloud hosting services to platforms like Facebook and TikTok and social media groups. public messaging on Telegram.

“For now, we have no regulatory tools in French law that would allow us to regulate audio streaming companies, in addition [Spotify] is not based on our territory,” said Roch-Olivier Maistre, president of the French audiovisual regulator.

Stockholm-based Spotify, which began to focus solely on music, had so far avoided public scrutiny of the content it delivers to its more than 400 million listeners worldwide, unlike streaming platforms. social media like Instagram and Twitter.

But from January, controversy swelled around the spread of coronavirus misinformation on controversial American podcaster Joe Rogan’s show, prompting wider scrutiny of the liability the company should face. Beyond the United States, Spotify France told POLITICO on Wednesday that it had decided to remove French far-right personality Alain Soral’s podcasts and account for failing to follow its political rules.

“We hadn’t thought about the situation, or at least not the intensity that we are currently facing,” said Karim Ibourki, president of the European network of media regulators, ERGA, and president of the Belgian authority. French-speaking media. “But the Digital Services Act will be an all-terrain vehicle…If the DSA applies to [online marketplace] Vinted, I don’t see why Spotify wouldn’t be concerned; they will have to play their part.

In search of more power

But before we can crack down on podcast platforms, national media regulators – who are currently mostly limited to overseeing traditional content publishers, including broadcasters and radio stations, as well as streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime – have yet to secure their position in the DSA in a eleventh hour gambit.

The Council – representing the 27 EU governments – has proposed empowering the Commission, not national watchdogs, to oversee very large online platforms.

But media regulators still think they have a chance to influence Brussels to put more supervisory powers in their hands.

Bokobza said it was not “necessarily crazy” to think the council – led by France until June – might change its mind. The official said the Council’s proposal landed “at a time when there was no way or time to refine it” and yet “drastically” changed the law.

“The Commission is not an independent entity as a European executive body; it would therefore be wise to force it to seek the support and opinions of independent regulators in charge of content or its European network,” Bokobza said.

Maistre added that Arcom has been in charge of overseeing platforms like Facebook and Twitter since 2021, when France implemented its own content moderation law, suggesting that his office with over 350 employees and a budget of over €46 million was qualified to apply the DSA.

Heads of media regulators met this week with Commission officials from Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton’s team, officials from Parliament and the French permanent representation.


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