Facebook wants to take on Clubhouse and Spotify with its new mobile app features
It’s no secret that Facebook loves to copy features of rival social media platforms that are fast gaining steam. So it was no surprise when Facebook declared in April that it was working on new audio features, including Clubhouse-style chat rooms. At the time, these features weren’t available to the public at large. That changes today as the company has started rolling out these features to users.
In a blog post on Monday, Facebook announced that it’s starting to roll out Live Audio Rooms and podcast features in the US. In the first phase, Facebook will allow select Facebook Groups and public figures on iOS to host Live Audio Rooms. Hosts can invite their friends, followers, and verified public figures to be a speaker.
Live Audio Rooms will also have the ability to raise money for a nonprofit or fundraiser. Listeners can show their support or appreciation to the host by sending Stars, a virtual currency of Facebook. This will, in turn, bumps these listeners to the front row, so they’re clearly visible to hosts. For now, the ability to create chat rooms is exclusive to iOS.
Live Audio Rooms will appear prominently in Facebook News Feed, and users can also sign up to receive alerts when a Live Audio Room goes live. Similar to Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, users can enable live captions, “raise a hand” to request to be a speaker, and send reactions.
Facebook has partnered up with several prominent public figures and creators such as TOKiMOSTA, Russell Wilson, Kehlani, Reggie Watts, and more to kick off the rollout of Live Audio Rooms.
Alongside chat rooms, Facebook has also started rolling out podcasts, allowing Facebook users to listen to podcasts right from within the Facebook app. Podcasts will appear on News Feed and will also be accessible from creators’ Facebook Pages. Users will also have the ability to react, comment, bookmark, and share podcasts.
Like Spotify and other podcast services, you can listen to podcasts via a mini player or full-screen player. Podcasts will be streamed via RSS feeds, and podcasters can link their show’s RSS feed to Facebook to automatically generate News Feed posts for future episodes.