Image Credit: Facebook
It’s Facebook vs Clubhouse – vs all the other tech company copycats – as Facebook launches its Live Audio Rooms in the US.
Facebook has followed other companies such as Spotify who scrambled to jump on the Clubhouse hype, launching their own versions of the live audio-only app. Like most of the Clubhouse rivals, Facebook Live Audio Rooms has “rooms” with nominated speakers whilst other users listen in.
From this week on, all Facebook users in the US will be able to listen to Live Audio Rooms. Initially, US public figures and creators who are well-regarded by Facebook can host rooms in the main iOS Facebook app. Both iOS and Android users can join in.
Many of Live Audio Rooms’ features seem to target what Clubhouse hasn’t implemented into the app. Unlike Clubhouse it features captions and there’s no limit on the number of listeners. Hosts can support a fundraiser by putting a donation button within the room – on Clubhouse, there’s no ability to link to non-profit outside links.
Admins control who can create a room. Initially there’ll be a focus on prominent figures as admins – public figures and celebrities who can lead discussions on specific topics. New tools allow the room to be shared more widely across Facebook’s News Feed and Groups; notifications let users know when friends or followers join a room; listeners can “raise a hand” and ask to speak.
The gradual expansion of Live Audio Rooms begins alongside the introduction of podcasts to Facebook. Users will be able to listen to podcasts within the Facebook app, and discover new podcasts based on their interests.
Funnily enough, downloads of Clubhouse have dropped off in recent months, with the hype dying away. Meanwhile just days ago Spotify launched Greenroom, the latest in a list of companies such as Twitter, Reddit and Discord to debut a Clubhouse rival.
Has Clubhouse lost its USP? It will take something special to convince new users to join yet another social media platform, when multiple apps which people are already signed up to now offer a very similar service.