Media And Streaming Giants Are Being Asked To Police Content. Can They Be Trusted?

Media And Streaming Giants Are Being Asked To Police Content. Can They Be Trusted?


Spotify removed R. Kelly and XXXTenation from its playlists in May, saying it would no longer actively promote the musical artists due to “hate content” or “hateful conduct.”

The move was instantly controversial since it appeared to target African American artists.

R. Kelly has faced lawsuits and news reports of alleged sexual coercion and abuse of young girls and women but denied the accusations. The music streaming platform received criticism in the wake of the #MuteRKelly campaign. R. Kelly is not facing any criminal charges and was acquitted in 2008 in a child porn case that took six years to bring to trial.

Spotify quickly walked back the policy, saying in a June 1 blog, “We are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct,” and adding that the policy was too vague. “Our role is not to regulate artists.”

Devin Johnson – President – UNINTERRUPTED


ABC was congratulated for canceling “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr compared former Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape. It happened on the watch of ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, the first African-American woman to head up programming for any major network.

Media and streaming giants are being called upon to police content. Can they be trusted?

“In the short term, it looks good,” said Jamarlin Matin, digital media entrepreneur and host of the GHOGH podcast. “Certain racists are falling down, but what I have seen online is that most likely (policing content is) going to have a disproportionate effect on the people with the least power, and particularly groups who are fighting the system.”

Martin spoke with Devin Johnson, president of digital sports programming network Uninterrupted, on the GHOGH podcast. He asked Johnson whether Spotify targeted Black artists with its policy changes. Martin also discussed how Black artists and activists are censored online with digital media guru and MIT graduate Liz Burr.

“I think there’s always going to be a challenge when you have commercial institutions that are trying to make decisions on morality,” Johnson said. “You know you’re not going to get me on your podcast saying anything bad about Michael Jackson …The interesting thing about (Roseanne) was there was an African American woman in power that made that decision, which — it’s just a rare scenario.”

Google and Facebook are crushing consumer privacy, policing what content you see and what content you don’t, what content is promoted, and what content is not, Martin said. For example, Twitter temporarily unverified Minister Louis Farrakhan earlier this year while other public figures who have real power, like President Donald Trump, stay verified.

Liz Burr – Senior Vice President, Product & Operations – REIGN Photo: Anita Sanikop/ Moguldom

“(Barack) Obama helped create this problem of the market concentration, the abuse of privacy, of having these monopolistic entities and their claws over everything, and kind of having an unhealthy control over winners and losers in the economy, in society,” Martin said.

So why does Obama get a pass on being cozy with Silicon Valley, Martin asked Burr.

“Obama definitely leveraged the internet to get his message across more than any other candidate did,” Burr said. “It just seems like both Obama and Silicon Valley really saw a surge around the same time. It’s not as if Silicon Valley had existed for decades.

“… But that’s not to say that all of Silicon Valley was on (Obama’s) side or that they’re all Democrats. I don’t think they are. I think there are some people who are problematic or don’t necessarily see the same views as Obama.”

Hear more on the GHOGH podcasts with Jamarlin Martin.