Spotify buys Dublin’s Kinzen to thwart harmful content

Spotify announced it has acquired Dublin, Ireland-based Kinzen, which it called “a global leader in protecting online communities from harmful content.”

Spotify said Kinzen’s technology and expertise “will help us more effectively deliver a safe, enjoyable experience on our platform around the world.”

The acquisition is one part of Spotify’s efforts to thwart harmful content on its service after a backlash earlier this year over “The Joe Rogan Experience” — when the podcaster was accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

Spotify said that “given the complexity of analyzing audio content in hundreds of languages and dialects, and the challenges in effectively evaluating the nuance and intent of that content” the acquisition of Kinzen will help Spotify better understand the “abuse landscape and identify emerging threats” on the platform.

“Spotify’s current partnership with Kinzen, which began in 2020, has been critical to enhancing our approach to platform safety,” said Spotify.

“The company’s unique technology is particularly suited for podcasting and audio formats, making its value to Spotify clear and unmatched.

“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.”

Spotify global head of public affairs Dustee Jenkins said: “We’ve long had an impactful and collaborative partnership with Kinzen and its exceptional team.

“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.

“This investment expands Spotify’s approach to platform safety, and underscores how seriously we take our commitment to creating a safe and enjoyable experience for creators and users.”

Spotify head of trust and safety Sarah Hoyle said: “The combination of tools and expert insights is Kinzen’s unique strength that we see as essential to identifying emerging abuse trends in markets and moderating potentially dangerous content at scale.

“This expansion of our team, combined with the launch of our Safety Advisory Council, demonstrates the proactive approach we’re taking in this important space.”