Facebook announces new audio features, including Clubhouse-like audio rooms

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Audio-based social media platforms, Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces, officially have competition from the world’s largest social network now. After announcing a plethora of audio-based features earlier this year, Facebook officially embarked on its journey in the space this weekend. The company launched Live Audio Rooms, a feature that seems to copy Clubhouse completely, and is only available in the United States (US) for now.

The company said it expects Live Audio Rooms to be available to everyone on Facebook by “the summer”. “We’ll test Live Audio Rooms in Groups, making it available to the 1.8 billion people using Groups every month and the tens of millions of active communities on Facebook,” the company said in a blog post. “As part of this initial rollout — and because we know communities aren’t built just in Groups — we’ll also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans,” the company added.

Bit Live Audio Rooms is one of a host of audio-based features Facebook announced on June 19. The company also introduced podcasts to its platform, putting it in competition with firms like Spotify, Apple, and even India’s Gaana in a way. The company said that over 170 million people follow podcast pages on Facebook, and the platform will allow them to listen to podcasts directly through its app “in the next few months”. Earlier reports have said that Facebook may be partnering with Spotify, to tap into the streaming platform’s large podcast library.

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Lastly, while podcasts and live audio rooms emulate existing platforms and services, Facebook is also building tools for influencers to take advantage of audio on its platform(s). The company added a whole suite of audio creation tools, which it claims are “powerful enough for the pros”. This includes speech-to-text, voice morphing and artificial intelligence-driven noise cancellation while recording. The company also has a feature called Soundbites, which is meant for short-form audio clips, which essentially takes on Twitter’s recent voice tweets feature.

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