Another week, another platform in trouble for allowing its talent to give voice to misinformation. This time, Joe Rogan suggested that the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines are a type of “gene therapy” and that young people are at a greater risk from the shots than the disease, among other false and dubious health claims featured on his popular, Spotify-hosted podcast. The calls to remove his podcast have only intensified after revelations that he’s also repeatedly used a racist slur on the show, leading Spotify’s chief to apologize to the company’s employees.
The best outcome of the scandal wouldn’t be that Mr. Rogan was kicked off Spotify, at least not for the health bunk. It would be seeing his misleading Covid content in context: It’s just a tiny drop in the ocean of online health nonsense.
Medical drivel has ballooned with the rise of streaming, e-commerce and social media platforms. Unlike the anti-vaccine pamphlets that skeptics handed out centuries ago, people spreading erroneous health advice today can near-instantly reach audiences of millions.
The problem is so much bigger than Joe Rogan or Spotify. And platforms, lawmakers and regulators aren’t keeping up.