Fix issues that could impact a user's mental health

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Fix issues that could impact a user's mental health

Jazzchilli
Regular

I am reposting this because my original idea was merged with one relating to homepage customisation. Spotify claimed that this was to help me get my idea past the finish line. Well, that idea is marked as 'not right now' and I believe that mental health deserves a higher priority.

 

I started my original idea after my account was hacked several months ago. I am still unable to get rid of the content the hackers placed in my shortcuts. Having your online data compromised is stressful and I do not need to be reminded of it every time I use Spotify.

 

However, some users have much more urgent reasons for needing to gain control over the content they see. On each thread users have been reporting content that is inappropriate, such as horror podcasts. Other have reported seeing upsetting content related to their personal circumstances.  A lot of the podcast content that is currently being pushed at us, has the potential to be very inappropriate. One user who is unable to have children has reported being constantly showing parenting podcasts with no way to remove them.

 

Any content, however innocuous it may seem to others, can be triggering and affect a user's emotional wellbeing. A certain song may recall memories of a violent incident, it may induce a painful memory or might just be something that adversely affects their mood. It should be possible to remove all of these triggers, regardless of the severity.

 

Spotify must not claim, in their corporate communications, to be at all connected or sympathetic to the mental health awareness and wellbeing movement until they start to address the shortcomings in filtering out inappropriate or unwanted content for their users. Until then, they are part of the problem.

 

Spotify have recently linked with Calm on Mental Health Awareness week, and received a lot of media coverage for this. These media outlets may want to revise their coverage in light of the fact that Spotify are failing to address this issue.

 

 

12 Replies

DitchBall
Music Fan

Yes, exactly. 

Show that you care, Spotify.

ssmon
Casual Listener

I hope Spotify listen to this, there is plenty of suggestions that are problematic or that you just don't want to see any more, and the fact that you keep getting the same suggestions over and over again just aggravates issues you are trying move forward from. 

This has happened to me, not only with podcast talking about topics I am trying to avoid, or even music that brings bad memories. been able to remove them from your home page should really be a possibility. 

Plz_5potify_Wow
Regular

Not right now.

neanda
Music Fan

I'm 100% with you on this, I hope it picks up steam. Yes, it's related to the Customize Start Screen issue, but this is far more critical as it is affecting people emotionally at a more serious level (as well as those regarding kids/grans/co-workers seeing their start screen).

For those who want to know about this ongoing (2+ years) issue that Spotify are ignoring (due to them being pressured by investors to justify the high prices they're paying for exclusive Podcasts), the link is here, so also vote there:
https://community.spotify.com/t5/Live-Ideas/All-Platforms-Customize-Start-Screen/idi-p/4528183

 

Jazzchilli
Regular

I really want to know how Spotify can write pieces like this  - https://hrblog.spotify.com/2020/10/10/every-day-is-mental-health-day/  - while failing to prioritise mental health issues raised by their interface.

 

In response to my initial enquiry after I was hacked, asking them to remove the unwanted content, I was told it wasn't technically possible. I have a reasonable level of technical expertise, and believe this to be utter rubbish. The system was developed in the mid 00s, not 1992.

 

It would definitely have been anticipated that a level of customisation would be needed at some point. In fact, as far as I remember, the mid 00s was a time when customisable homepages started popping up on lots of sites, such as the BBC. Even if it wasn't planned from the outset, using an infrastructure that would never allow homepage customisation seems highly unlikely for a system based on users liking content and creating playlists.

neanda
Music Fan

Well said. And the blog post is a complete contradiction of what they're doing regarding the start screen. 

 

Do you have a link, or can you copy paste the response regarding it being technically impossible?  Because it's just ridiculous given the current stage of the exponential rise of technology (we are at the beginning of the knee of the curve), virtually anything is becoming technically possible (qbits, AI, nanotech, etc.)

Jazzchilli
Regular

I haven't found their response in my emails...I wonder if it was a chat session? It was around New Year. I'll keep looking anyway.

 

Basically I asked if they could remove the content for me since I wasn't able to, they said no that isn't technically possible. Which makes no sense as they must have to remove content all the time. The hacked content in my account is clearly dodgy - no artwork, meaningless titles etc.

 

I also asked for the details of the algorithm they use to place content on our homepages, and I think they just swerved it with some cut and paste response.

Jazzchilli
Regular

I'm going to be writing an article on this issue.

 

I'm a content writer anyway, and in addition to my current work for clients, I'm going to be writing on my core subject areas for my website and also for places like Medium. Mental health is not an area that I have experience in as a writer, communications professional or as an expert, but it's important to me so I'd like to help to raise awareness. However, I don't want to replicate what's already out there.

 

Obviously there are plenty of writers better placed to tackle the overarching issues affecting everyone, that are not limited to specific companies or products. So I think that I'll concentrate on lobbying for change exactly where it's needed, such as on this issue/product.

 

Please let me know if you would like to contribute the way in which you have been personally affected by the lack of customisation available on Spotify. If you could describe the specific issue you have, plus how it is affecting your wellbeing that would be great. Completely anonymously of course, no usernames will be shared.

NinoMeneses
Newbie

It'd be great to have the ability to block certain users on Spotify. Don't wanna have to always stumble upon them on my followers list. 

Alex
Moderator
Moderator

Hi everyone,

 

Thank you for expressing your opinions and concerns on this topic in the Community!

 

We understand the importance of mental health and take it seriously. And we're not just saying this - we have many policies that focus around mental health and work-life balance and we believe that music is a great tool for the cause.

 

As moderators we have a task to ensure that the Community and its different sections are used as intended and we also want to help everyone to get as much exposure to their ideas as possible. An idea marked as Not Right Now doesn't mean it is not going to be monitored and considered in the future, it's just, as the name suggests, not something we can do right now at this moment of time. 

 

Posting this topic as an idea in opposition to our Idea Guidelines won't be productive as it won't be something that we will be able to actually incorporate. We've written our Guidelines to help, not to restrict - they allow for distinct feature requests that a developer can code to become a reality. Based on experience, we'd say this topic is rather something unique of its own and overall very broad in aspect.

 

The previous idea is still on our radar and we still think if that is implemented, maybe even just to some degree, it will accomplish what you're are trying to raise awareness for. 

 

The reason we've now moved this topic to the discussion boards is that we deem that this is better suited as a discussion thread where a conversation can be had and we do need to ensure that all ideas follow our guidelines.

 

This is not to discourage, but rather to provide a platform for such discussion to be had. We believe that just having another idea will not be better and we don't actually pay less attention to other parts of our Community. We're hard at work to actually reduce submissions of ideas that are not something we can help make happen via this process in order for others that do have a chance to hopefully get more votes so we can bring them up for prioritization.

 

We hope this post will provide some clarification and that you understand our motivations. That being said, we welcome all discussion on the topic and be assured that your posts do not go unnoticed.

 

Take care!

AlexModerator
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DitchBall
Music Fan

But, it is something that could be done right now. It could have been done many times over the past few years. 

 

Ignored. 

Jazzchilli
Regular
I think that fact that not a single person has liked your answer, lets you know what we think about it. I take ti that this post signifies that Spotify intends to prioritise commercialism over user wellbeing. It's time this debate was taken to a wider stage. You could have prevented this.
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