Masterclassing

Facebook creates Clubhouse competitor Live Audio Rooms

Gabby Fernie

Facebook has announced in a blog post written by Fidji Simo, Head of the Facebook App, that it will be introducing a new series of audio features in the coming months. This includes Live Audio Rooms – a platform where users can listen in to live conversations, interviews and discussions between public figures.

The move is rumoured to take on popular competitors such as Clubhouse – an exclusive audio app where users can join by invitation only. The audio-only app became increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, growing to two million users by 1 February 2021.

Other established platforms are following the trend, with Twitter launching "Spaces" later this month - a live audio-only chat room.

Facebook is also introducing Soundbites, where users can create and share short audio clips.

Simo writes “To start, we’re collaborating with creators to experiment with different concepts. Imagine, comedian Drew Lynch, sharing his short rants and food reviews in ASMR; Lolo Spencer, an accessibility advocate, reciting daily affirmations and her favorite inspirational quotes; Tobe Nwigwe, a visionary and entrepreneur, sharing his “convos with Tobe” about fatherhood and being a first-generation Nigerian American." 

Facebook users will soon be able to listen to podcasts directly on the app, both while using the app or when the app is backgrounded. 

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement on Monday in an interview with Casey Newton, a former tech reporter for The Verge.

“We think that audio is of course also going to be a first-class medium, and there are all these different products to be built across this whole spectrum” Zuckerberg told Newton. “You already have these communities that are organized around interests and allowing people to come together and have rooms where they can talk, I think it’ll be a very useful thing.”