In a highly political contentious year, the music streaming service Spotify recently announced that they will suspend running political ads in 2020, due to putting in place more stringent vetting tools and systems. According to Pitchfork “The announcement comes amid ongoing criticism of online platforms whose ad standards lag behind other media, allowing misleading or malicious content to reach voters.” The announcement by Spotify was released as early as this past Friday, December 27.
The major music and podcast streaming service will halt its sales of political ads in the forthcoming year, furthering that Spotify is incapable to “validate and review” such politicized advertising content. As previously reported in Variety, Spotify went into great detail behind their decision saying:
“Beginning in early 2020, Spotify will pause the selling of political advertising,’ a company rep said in a statement to Variety. ‘This will include political advertising content in our ad-supported tier and in Spotify original and exclusive podcasts. At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content. We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.’”
This move is crucial, in regards to the 2020 presidential campaign heating up, as major social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as of late “the political-advertising policies of big internet platforms — and whether they will fact-check them — have been in the spotlight.” As previously mentioned in Variety “Facebook has been criticized for taking a hands-off approach, allowing political ads even if they include false or deliberately misleading claims (while banning ads that suggest voting is useless or that urge people not to vote). Meanwhile, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the platform was banning political advertising effective Nov. 22, arguing that it isn’t OK for campaigns or political groups to pay to target their messages to users.”
Spotify’s decision to put an end to running political ads should not affect ads inserted in third-party content such as podcasts. The aforementioned Variety article concludes with, “Ads embedded in third-party content — such as podcasts that are not owned by or exclusive to Spotify — may include political spots and will continue to be subject to the company’s broader content policies.”