A bot named Ashley is ruining playlists on Spotify

A bot named Ashley is ruining playlists on Spotify

The internet’s latest villain has just raised his head and he’s not a corporate mega-billionaire, rebellious politician, or Twitter troll, but rather an unassuming Spotify bot named Ashley.

Several users have complained that their public and collaborative playlists, designed to allow Spotify users and their friends to curate songs together in real time, have been requisitioned by bots masquerading as regular users, mainly an account simply named “Ashley”.

Invasive habits and general atmosphere sabotage by Ashley and other similar bots have turned users into bona fide investigators, including TikTokker and musician @jw__francis. Francis first pointed to the bot in a video about fun playlists featuring the same music as him, including the one touched by the infamous Ashley.

The recognizable responses to that TikTok inspired him to dig further, publishing a video highlighting Ashley’s many victims and other bots disguised in a similar way , including an “Emma” and an “Elsie”. It appears that users are hoping to ward off bot advances by adding messages to their playlist titles, such as one titled “STOP A FUCKING ADDING SONGS ASHLEY LETTERALLY WHO TF ARE U LEAVE”.

The comments on the latest video seem to be full of Ashley’s victims as well. “Ashley is a literal virus, I got it from a work playlist she got it from a colleague and so on, it’s wild,” user @hey replied _ bro _ wheres_my _ sheep.

“This happened to my group playlist and we kept removing songs and they HAVE DELETED EVERY SONG FROM OUR playlist over 19 hours I felt so hacked,” commented user @bbnaluu.

“Another reason for leaving Spotify, this is such an invasion of privacy,” wrote @acidrefluxburps.

A Spotify playlist titled "Fuck you ashley, stop adding songs"

Ashley entered the chat. Credit: Screenshot: Spotify

A Spotify playlist titled "Ashley stop adding songs to my playlist"

Ashley Strikes Again! Credit: Screenshot: Spotify

A Spotify playlist titled "Emma stop adding songs"

Ashley is not the only culprit. Credit: Screenshot: Spotify

A Spotify playlist titled "Stop adding shitty music to my playlist

In TikTok, Francis theorizes that these bots are promotional accounts created to increase a single artist’s music listening stats by adding them to as many public playlists as possible – a strategy that has previously been used by streaming artists and fandoms. Francis found that the Ashley bot was exclusively dealing with and adding music to a Spotify account called Pesukone. According to Pesukone’s Instagram, the account is a Finnish collective dedicated to highlighting unknown musicians (including robots too, I guess?).

Some of the TikTok commentators have noticed other bots promoting individual artists, such as user @middleghostie. “An years he did this to me! The artist is not that bad, ”they wrote. Other names that have left commentators include Jeni, Olivia, Claudia, Julia, and Lily – at least a dozen ghost accounts ruining the playlist vibes with music from outside artists. At the end of the TikTok, Francis posed a pressing question: Why are all these bots women? There are no answers.

On Reddit, users theorized about Spotify’s Ashleys, pointing out less subtle, non-genre bots that ruined vibes on near and far playlists, such as “SongSuggestor (beta)” and “Picked Tracks”.

They also asked for assistance in stopping the intrusions, some turned to the Spotify community for help. Unfortunately the summary of answers appears to be a simple “We can’t help you right now”. In response to a request in June 2021 to restrict bots from adding songs, a Spotify community moderator replied that the issue cannot be solved with current settings – it is not possible to prevent a single user from editing. a playlist and collaborative playlists do not have an “invitation only” setting. Instead they suggested that bot victims support a suggested change in future Spotify updates that would allow playlist creators to change edit permissions on collaborative playlists.

Currently, the only solution to Ashley’s problem is to manually remove any added tracks, block the bot (by going to her profile, clicking the three dots at the top of the page and selecting “block”), or removing the public settings from the your playlists. And pray that Ashley won’t find you anymore.

As we close the doors of our public playlists or resign ourselves to random robot song choices, which hero will go up to defeat Ashley? Will our playlists always be vulnerable to such intrusive atmosphere controls? Will Spotify find time to save us, as it deals with its own streaming disputes? Only time will tell.

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