White House pushes Spotify, Big Tech to continue crackdown on 'misinformation' amid Joe Rogan controversy

White House continues to nudge platforms towards online censorship

White House press secretary Jen Psaki spoke Tuesday about the ongoing controversy surrounding the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and media company Spotify, saying that the White House wants "more" done by Big Tech companies to suppress "misinformation" on their platforms.

Spotify announced Monday that it would now be including advisories on content that the company believes is pushing misinformation. The main target of this new effort has been former professional fighter and television personality Joe Rogan, whose podcast has featured several guests critical of the U.S.'s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the conference, Psaki said that the new warnings are "a positive step," but the administration would like increased efforts from tech companies to suppress false information and elevate facts. 

Not long after urging companies to suppress disinformation, Psaki was asked for comment on book bans reported at schools nationwide, to which she assured reporters that the Biden administration is "pro-freedom of speech and freedom of expression."


"Our hope is that all major tech platforms — and all major news sources for that matter — be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19," Psaki said of Spotify's new content warnings. "That certainly includes Spotify."

"So this disclaimer, it's a positive step, but we want every platform to continue doing more to call out misinformation while also uplifting accurate information," she added.

Spotify announced the change after liberal media outlets and a group of medical professionals urged the streaming platform to take action against what it called COVID-related "misinformation" sparked by the podcasting giant.

Last week, a group of advocates, professors, scientists and medical professionals signed an open letter that asked Spotify to "take action against mass-misinformation events" on its platform after the "Joe Rogan Experience" (JRE) podcast irked the group with a "highly controversial episode" interview with Dr. Robert Malone. 

A closer look, however, found that the majority of the signatories are either not direct medical providers or are not legally permitted to practice medicine on their own. Nearly 100 of them reportedly hold Ph.D. degrees but do not regularly practice. 

Only 87 of the signatories are medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine, though, the conservative news site The Blaze found. Signatories include numerous nurse practitioners, veterinarians, a dentist and close to 100 Ph.D.s and Ph.D. candidates.

Psychologists, physicians' assistants, medical students, an engineer and a podcast host also made the list.

Joe Rogan introduces fighters during the UFC 269 ceremonial weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Joe Rogan introduces fighters during the UFC 269 ceremonial weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Dec. 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images / Getty Images)


At the same conference, Psaki denounced bans on controversial books at public schools, citing the administration's support for freedom of speech and expression.

"I have not discussed this with the president, but I can tell you as an administration, we believe in the freedom of speech and expression," Psaki said without hesitation. "And certainly we have never been advocates of preventing people from understanding and reading history."

Fox News's Brian Flood contributed to this report.