Instagram prepares for Clubhouse-like audio rooms and end-to-end encryption in chats

The recent surge in Clubhouse’s popularity shows voice-based interactions are the future of social networking. Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS and you can only access it if another user invites you. Seeing this as a potential opportunity, social media giants including Facebook and Twitter are working on their own adaptations for a wider audience. While Twitter Spaces is already being tested, we have learned that Facebook is also working to bring live audio rooms to the Instagram app. Besides audio rooms, Instagram is also working to enable end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in chats.

Instagram Live is already a popular means for creators to interact with their followers. Adding to that, Instagram rolled out Live Rooms recently, allowing anyone going live to add up to three more users. In line with this, Instagram also appears to be working on live audio rooms wherein a host can add a bunch of other users during the live audio session. App Researcher Alessandro Paluzzi shared screenshots of the under-development Instagram feature on their Twitter account.

In one of the screenshots, we see a microphone icon beside the regular camcorder icon that usually appears during live video sessions. Paluzzi did not share any details about the functionality of Instagram’s live audio rooms but, the placement of the microphone icon right next to the camera icon suggests Instagram could integrate audio and video live rooms.

Facebook’s intention to clone Clubhouse was first reported last month. In its announcement of Live Rooms, Instagram also confirmed it is “exploring more interactive tools such as offering moderator controls and audio features that will be available in the coming months.” While the functionality of the audio room is relatively new, the app is also set to get a feature that was reportedly first commissioned at least two years ago.

Facebook started unifying chats from Instagram and Messenger last year, allowing users to use either of the two apps to connect with contacts on the other. The said unification was first ordered by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg in January 2019. Alongside this plan to integrate chats from Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp into a single messaging platform, Zuckerberg also asserted the need to implement end-to-end encryption across all of its messaging apps — a feature that is limited to WhatsApp at present.

Although Facebook introduced disappearing messaging under the recently-announced Vanish mode for the sake of privacy, end-to-end encryption adds a layer of security to chats and prevents anyone other than the users to interpret the communications even if they are intercepted. This feature is suggested to be under development by App Researcher Alessandro Paluzzi who did not share more information about the same.

The features are currently under development and not available to users. We shall add more details when we learn about them.

About author

Tushar Mehta

I am a Senior Writer for the XDA News Portal. I have been reviewing gadgets for over four years and gained experience by working for prominent tech publications in India before joining XDA. I enjoy fiddling with all smart objects and my love for software customization dates back to the Symbian S60 days. I like to devote my spare time idealizing the romantic union of technology and philosophy or spacing out on Pink Floyd. You may email me at tushar@xda-developers.com

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