Facebook is bringing audio chat rooms, podcasts, and “sound bites” to the mobile app
Audio-based social media is all the rage these days—just ask Clubhouse and the countless clones that have sprung up in the past few days as companies race to get a piece of this audio cake. And I say “clones” because the core functionality doesn’t really differ much, if at all, between all the different takes we’ve seen: audio chat rooms where a handful of people serve as “speakers” or “hosts” and the rest can hop in, listen, and interact with the hosts. Today, Facebook has announced a handful of audio-focused features coming to their mobile app, including audio chat rooms, podcasts, and “sound bites”.
Audio chat rooms, which are being added to Facebook Groups and will also be made available for public figures outside Groups as well, are as straightforward as they sound: they provide similar functionality to Clubhouse, Twitter’s Spaces, and other apps. A handful of people serve as speakers and have a live conversation, and other users can hop in, listen, and interact as they want. Facebook is also adding features such as fundraisers, where speakers in a room can invite viewers to donate to a special cause.
Podcasts will allow you to listen to podcasts right from the Facebook app, in a similar way that apps like Spotify and Google Podcasts do. Unlike more dedicated services, though, Facebook podcasts will be integrated into their social-based ecosystem, allowing podcast creators to be able to interact better with their audience and connect with more people. Facebook will also suggest new podcasts based on what you’ve watched and what you like. Finally, Soundbites are a new type of post that allows users to create short-form audio content and clips, and users can create Soundbites with an all-new audio creation tool fueled by AI to enhance audio quality and add sound effects and voice effects.
According to Facebook, none of these features are available to users right now, but we can expect A/B tests to begin in the coming weeks.