What is Clubhouse and why is Facebook cloning the voice chat app?

Clubhouse Audio Chat App
(Image credit: Apple App Store)

Clubhouse has recently seen a meteoric rise after Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg started using the invite-only audio chat app. Now, Facebook wants in.

Currently, the popular social media app has charted in the top 5 social networking apps on the iPhone, and reportedly has over 6 million registered users (via backlinko.com). The catch? It's an invite-only app, and there's even a waitlist. Exclusivity is on-trend, it seems. 

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is an audio-based network, meaning instead of text or video, communication is done purely through audio with chat room sizes ranging from a couple of people to thousands.

The Clubhouse app officially launched in April 2020, starting out as just an insider means of communication for developers in Silicon Valley. But, like most things in Silicon Valley, the app slowly but surely reached mainstream enthusiasm, surging in downloads from December 2020 for 600,000 to now a whopping 6 million. Clubhouse can thank Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg for that.

The Clubhouse app was originally valued at $100 million in May last year but is now valued at $1 billion as of February 2021. In fact, even outside the US, it is the most-downloaded app in Germany, Japan, Slovakia, and Turkey.

While plenty of notable stars, including 21 Savage, Drake and Terry Crews are now part of the platform, Clubhouse recently gained more attention when Elon Musk hosted an audio-chat on the app with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on January 31. Since GameStop stock on Robinhood saw mass media attention, the interview gave Clubhouse even more attention.

Now, Facebook is looking to build a similar version of Clubhouse to compete with it, according to insider sources seen on a report on The New York Times. Are we all that surprised?

The inevitable Facebook clone 

Mark Zuckerberg has used Clubhouse to talk about Facebook's AR and VR potential, and clearly has taken a liking to it. According to the sources, Facebook will be making a similar app, although it's still in its early stages. We're sure to see a form of Clubhouse pop-up soon enough.

Facebook is known to compete with trending features and platforms by incorporating (or cloning) them into its own platform. Take the wildly popular Instagram Stories — straight from Snapchat. When Zoom became the go-to video conferencing app last year, Facebook came out with Messenger Rooms (although not nearly as popular).

So, interested in Clubhouse? It's an iPhone-only app, and the only way to get registered is to join the waitlist or ask an existing user to get invited. Head over to the App Store and see if you can be part of the exclusivity. Although, if you prefer to stick with more wildly networking apps, these best messaging apps will do the trick.

Darragh Murphy

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.