Spotify to Suspend Political Advertisements in 2020

Music streaming giant says it does not have the capacity to “responsibly validate and review this content”

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Photo: Spotify

Spotify plans to suspend political advertising on its platform heading into 2020, the company announced Friday.

The move comes ahead of the 2020 presidential election, at a point when the company says it does not have the capacity to vet the content of political ads.

“Beginning in early 2020, Spotify will pause the selling of political advertising,” the streaming service said in a statement to Ad Age. “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.”

The new policy will apply to both Spotify’s ad-supported tier and to its original podcasts. Podcasts produced by third parties for Spotify’s platform may still contain political ads.

Per Ad Age, the policy covers “political organizations such as candidates for office, elected and appointed officials, Super PACs, nonprofits and political parties. It also removes content that advocates for or against political entities and legislative or judicial outcomes.”

Spotify is not the only tech company to take a harder look at how it plans to handle political advertising ahead of the next presidential election cycle. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced earlier this year that political advertising would be suspended on the social media platform worldwide, and Google removed the ability to microtarget advertisements to its users based on political affiliation.

Facebook has repeatedly come under fire for its hands-off approach to political advertising on its platform, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg defending the policy of not fact-checking ads in an October speech by saying, “in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.”