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On Google Podcasts, a buffet of hate

When Apple bans a podcast, like Mr. Jones, it removes the RSS feed from the directory. Google Podcasts says it’s reluctant to take that step, except in a narrow set of cases.

The content policy of the service compares the function with Google Search linking. Unless a podcast violates the rules that apply to links displayed in Google Search, most of which are based on legal restrictions, it will remain on Google Podcasts. Google draws distinctions when it comes to which podcasts it will market, making it easier to find. It states that it does not recommend content that is “inappropriate, insensitive or offensive”

;, and goes on to cite specific areas of concern, including content that is harassing, hateful, misleading or dangerous.

Although the company compares its podcast platform to search, Google Podcast’s own product description notices significant differences, including the ability to manipulate playback speed, create playlists, and download and store content.

But there is at least one link between Google Podcasts and Google Search. In 2019, Google began integrating podcasts into search results using its own platform, allowing content to be played directly from the results page. All podcasts, including those containing hate speech, currently benefit from this feature in accordance with Google’s policies.

In the early days, moderation of podcasting content was virtually non-existent. Apple, the industry’s largest and most influential player, which added support for podcasts to iTunes in 2005, initially paid little attention to the growing ecosystem, choosing to serve largely as a delivery vehicle.

The benevolent neglect of the company was a blessing to many creators. Popular comedians (Adam Carolla, Marc Maron) and radio stations (Kaitlin Prest, “The Heart”; Nick van der Kolk, “Love + Radio”) took advantage of the media’s low barrier to enter to find the audience. Many appreciated the freedom of expression, weighed down by the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates radio and television broadcasters.

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