Spotify has officially acquired content-moderation company Kinzen, which says that it helps clients to “get ahead – and stay ahead – of threats such as dangerous misinformation, hateful content, violent content, violent extremism and dangerous organisations.”
Stockholm-based Spotify unveiled its deal for Dublin-headquartered Kinzen via a formal release today. The audio-entertainment service began working with Kinzen (which was founded in 2017) two years ago.
And in June of 2022, after facing a tidal wave of outrage over The Joe Rogan Experience, Spotify announced a “Safety Advisory Council” featuring organizations including Kinzen. Now, the streaming giant – which has injected billions into social audio, podcasting, and audiobooks – intends to use the newly acquired business to “deliver a safe, enjoyable experience on our platform around the world.”
Notwithstanding these general plans, Spotify hasn’t publicly identified its precise goals for Kinzen, which is expected to continue operating with its full team in Dublin. However, higher-ups did claim that the entity’s “unique technology is particularly suited for podcasting and audio formats.”
“We’ve long had an impactful and collaborative partnership with Kinzen and its exceptional team,” Spotify global head of public affairs Dustee Jenkins said in part. “Now, working together as one, we’ll be able to even further improve our ability to detect and address harmful content, and importantly, in a way that better considers local context.”
“The technology the Kinzen team brings to Spotify combines machine learning and human expertise—backed by analysis from leading local academics and journalists—to analyze potential harmful content and hate speech in multiple languages and countries,” elaborated Spotify, which doesn’t appear to have publicly disclosed the transaction’s financials.
But as the Heardle owner Spotify hasn’t hesitated to drop massive sums on other questionable investments over the years, the Kinzen buyout ostensibly brought with it a sizable price tag. Building upon the point, it’ll be worth following the role that the just-purchased company plays at Spotify moving forward, especially since the aforementioned Joe Rogan has made clear his plans to quit podcasting if he has to “walk on eggshells.”
Spotify paid a reported $200 million for the rights to The Joe Rogan Experience, and the ultra-popular program has been the subject of ample controversy and media pushback to date. A cursory glance at the seemingly partisan social media posts of Kinzen higher-ups suggests that the content-moderation entity, depending upon its post-sale scope within Spotify’s broader operations, may collide with Rogan over the content of his program.