We've been hearing rumors that Facebook is working on cloning hugely popular audio chat app Clubhouse, and now we're getting a taste of the social media giant's efforts in the form of a web-based Q&A platform.
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team has released Hotline, a new audio and video chat platform that finally gives Clubhouse some competition. Unlike Clubhouse, however, Hotline is available for Android smartphone users too — not just iOS.
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What is Facebook's Hotline?
As reported by TechCrunch, Hotline is a web-based app that gives creators a platform to speak to their audience and answer any questions via text or audio. However, instead of being audio-only like Clubhouse, hosts have the ability to turn on their cameras during their Q&A.
Those taking part can vote on which questions they want to be answered, and can also use emojis to respond to whatever the host is saying.
Facebook recently tested Hotline, with the first to publicly try out the platform being real estate agent Nick Huber. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is looking for influencers and creators like Huber to offer professional advice in areas such as finance or real estate.
Led by Facebook's Eric Hazzard, the new web app has a lot in common with Clubhouse and other similar platforms like Twitter Spaces, including its user interface.
Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that mobile app versions of Hotline are in the works, but for now, people can sign up via the web page (which seems to only be available in the U.S. after getting a message saying "Coming Soon!" when trying it out in the U.K.).
You'll find there's only a waitlist to sign up for via Twitter login and an option to apply to host your own show. We're sure to see it evolve over the next few months, with more notable guests appearing on the platform (it will have to match Elon Musk guest status to catch some real attention, though).
Apparently, this isn't the only Clubhouse competitor Facebook is working on, as another internal team is working on a different project to keep the ever-trending Clubhouse on its toes. This is likely referring to the clone Facebook teased earlier in February.
Android users have yet another alternative to use that's not the iPhone exclusive Clubhouse, but a recent fake Clubhouse app shows that it's still hugely sought-after..
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Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.