Facebook is threatening to take over the audio-social space, a territory Clubhouse has claimed with its buzzworthy, invite-only app that's making waves in the networking community.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new Clubhouse competitor, and on top of that, the social-media giant is releasing a new suite of audio-chat apps that will be accessible to users in the coming months.
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Facebook announces Live Audio Rooms: Clubhouse's new competitor
Clubhouse is facing a new competitor called Live Audio Rooms, which is rolling out to Facebook users in the summer. The social-media giant will add Live Audio Rooms to Facebook Groups. Facebook is crossing its fingers that Live Audio Rooms will promote more engagement within the social network's tens of millions active communities.
"Whether it’s Filipino Cooking Group, run by a former cooking reality TV show contestant; the World Wanderlust Bucket List group, filled with travelers looking for the road less traveled; or OctoNation® – The Largest Octopus Fan Club of 47,000 cephalopod enthusiasts, we hope that unlocking audio will be as inspiring and fun as Groups already are," Facebook said in a blog.
High-profile public figures will also get a chance to experiment with Live Audio Rooms. This will give them a chance to host virtual conversations and connect with their fans. As a cherry on top, Facebook says Live Audio Rooms will also be released on Messenger, allowing users to host rooms with their friends and family.
Fans will be able to support Live Audio Room hosts via Facebook's Stars model. Fans can buy Stars and send them to creators during streams; Facebook pays hosts $0.01 per Star.
Facebook is also releasing a new suite of audio-chat apps
In addition to Live Audio Rooms, Zuckerberg announced a whole new suite of audio-chat apps. After all, Facebook's CEO now believes that the audio-social space is the future of virtual networking. "We think that audio is [...] going to be a first-class medium and there are all these different products to be built across the whole spectrum," Zuckerberg in an audio interview with tech journalist Casey Newton on Discord.
Soundbites: another social-audio app
Sometimes, Facebook posts simply don't capture your tone, inflection and emphasis, and as such, many users can misinterpret your words or fail to detect your sarcasm. That's why Facebook created Soundbites: short-forum audio clips that capture anecdotes, jokes, inspirational quotes, poems and more.
Facebook drummed up excitement for Soundbites by illustrating how it can be used in the hands of celebrities: "Imagine, comedian Drew Lynch, sharing his short rants and food reviews in ASMR; Lolo Spencer, an accessibility advocate, reciting daily affirmations and her favorite inspirational quotes; Tobe Nwigwe, a visionary and entrepreneur, sharing his “convos with Tobe” about fatherhood and being a first-generation Nigerian American."
More than 170 million users are connected to hundreds of thousands of podcast pages on Facebook, so the social-media tech giant recognized that the podcast space is a worthy investment.
Facebook is implementing a new tool that allows users to listen to podcasts directly on the platform. Users can scroll through Facebook while listening to a podcast simultaneously. In other words, you can visit a podcast fan page and listen to its catalog of episodes via the Facebook app.
"And because it’s still hard to discover podcasts you like, we will help you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them and recommend them to your friends," Facebook said.
New audio-creation tools
Facebook is unleashing a new set of audio-creation tools. "Just like we did for photo and videos, we want everyone to have tools that are powerful enough for the pros, but intuitive and fun," Facebook said.
The social-media giant is releasing speech-to-text and voice morphing tools to users. Thanks to AI advancements, Facebook users will also be able to take advantage of a new noise-cancellation feature. Even if they're recording on a busy street corner, their audio will get a sound-quality boost. Last but not least, Facebook is introducing Sound Collection, a catalog of songs and sound effects that users can explore to elevate their content.
We look forward to seeing how well Soundbites, Live Audio Room and more catches on with the public.