Facebook’s Clubhouse rival app set to launch this summer

Facebook had launched the public beta testing of its audio-only social media platform reportedly called Live Audio Rooms a few days ago and now the social network giant has confirmed that it will be launching the service this summer.

The company announced multiple products yesterday that emphasise voice content over images, video and texts. Facebook has also said that the feature will be released only for a select number of users initially and will be available in a few months.

Not for all yet

Facebook has said that the Live Audio Rooms feature will be rolled out to public figures and groups as a test but will eventually make its way to Messenger for other users. With this feature, users will be able to record their voice and share it with their followers and eventually, these content creators can charge for access to their rooms by offering exclusive content.

Facebook said that it is also introducing an Audio Creator Fund to “support emerging audio creators”. Most of these conversations can be turned into audio bytes, a feature that will be rolled out later. These shorter audio clips will be backed by an algorithmic feed to promote them. Just like the content you have seen on short video-making apps like TikTok.

This ‘Soundbites’ feature will be within the News Feed and users will be able to record audio using a separate tool on Facebook.

Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come out in support of the audio platform and said that he likes audio over video or images because it gives people the option to multitask and host longer sessions.

“The high-level picture here is that we think that audio is, of course, also going to be a first-class medium, and that there are all these different products to build across this whole spectrum,” Zuckerberg said.

Big plans for podcasts

The company has also said that it has big plans for podcasts. Facebook says that it will start recommending shows based on people’s interests and will let them add comments to the content and recommend it to friends.

Facebook says more than 170 million people on the platform are connected to a page that is linked to a specific podcast and more than 35 million people are members of podcast groups. Therefore, Facebook sees huge potential in this area.

Zuckerberg has also said that Facebook might announce a partnership with Spotify for its podcasts. This will let Facebook users stream music from Spotify on their News Feed.

“Our ambition has always been to make Spotify ubiquitous across platforms and devices — bringing music and podcasts to more people — and our new integration with Facebook is another step in these efforts,” a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to a continued partnership with Facebook, fueling audio discovery around the world.”

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