Facebook announces its own Clubhouse-style audio chat ‘rooms’

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ILLUSTRATION - Facebook wants in: The invite-only audio chat app Clubhouse has made waves in recent months with a platform that allows users to listen to or join conversations in audio chat
ILLUSTRATION - Facebook wants in: The invite-only audio chat app Clubhouse has made waves in recent months with a platform that allows users to listen to or join conversations in audio chat "rooms". Photo: Zacharie Scheurer/dpa

The recent success of the Clubhouse social media app appears to have impressed Facebook enough into creating its own version of the audio chat platform, and the social media giant has now announced plans to roll out so-called Live Audio Rooms for all app users.

The social media giant said on Monday it was first testing the audio chat rooms in Groups and aiming to roll them out to all app users by mid-2021.

Almost at the same time as Facebook, the platform Reddit also announced a similar service called Reddit Talk.

In further proof that audio chat is set to be a major social media trend in the coming months, Twitter is meanwhile also testing its own version of Clubhouse.

Facebook, however, is going on the audio offensive on a broader front and stands at an advantage with its existing base of more than 2.5 billion users.

In a cooperation with the music streaming market leader Spotify, users will be able to listen to podcasts from the Facebook app, which will be able to suggest podcasts to you based on its knowledge of your interests.

In a press release that makes no mention of its latest rival, Facebook said it also wants to add something it’s calling Soundbites, a new short-form audio format catering to anecdotes, jokes and poems.

Facebook is known for replicating the features of successful rivals, while also buying up others, notably the messaging service WhatsApp in 2014.

Facebook’s copies are not always successful and Facebook tried several times to imitate Snapchat’s photos that disappear on their own.

In contrast, Facebook hit the bull’s eye with its copy of Snapchat’s Stories function, where users can make photos and videos available to their friends for a day.

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