Facebook is introducing a new feature to improve users’ audio experience on the platform. The social media giant has unveiled live audio spaces for public figures, creators and groups worldwide. The new feature, introduced in response to the growing interest in Clubhouse, allows users to host live audio discussions on the platform. Facebook started testing this feature earlier in the US, but the company’s official announcement of its global roll-out came on October 11th. Facebook recently added the podcast listening options in the US. The company is also testing the Soundbites audio clip options.
Alexandru Voica (@alexvoica), a Facebook manager, tweeted about the global launch of the new Live Audio Rooms feature. According to the tweet, all verified public figures, creators, and groups on Facebook around the world will have the opportunity to host live audio rooms. Voica added that Facebook is making more tools available to developers and communities to network, help people discover new voices they have never heard, and share ideas. The Live Audio Rooms are currently in the test phase for Android and desktop. Voica confirmed that Facebook is testing the ability to create a live audio room from the Android app and listen from the desktop.
When Facebook first announced the feature in June of this year, Live Audio Rooms was only available in the iOS app. Now users can also create rooms in the Android app. The rooms work just like the clubhouse. Users can listen and participate in live conversations. Also, public figures can invite friends, followers, other verified public figures, or other listeners in the room to speak. The number of speakers is limited to 50 and the number of listeners is unlimited.
Users can discover live audio rooms to join from places like the news feed and through notifications. While listening to a conversation, users will be notified when friends or followers join. There are also options to enable live subtitles, raise a hand to join the conversation, and use reactions to participate in real time.
Facebook has also launched another audio feature called a podcast. Users can post their podcasts on Facebook to share their shows with followers and allow new people to discover them. Listeners can share the episodes directly on the platform. Podcast capabilities are currently available to US listeners on mobile devices. Facebook wants to introduce more features, including captions and the ability to create and share short clips from a podcast.
Facebook says the rollout of Live Audio Rooms and Podcasts in the US is just the beginning of the audio journey. The company confirmed that it is working with creators to develop and bring to market Soundbites, which are short, creative audio clips. This feature allows users to publish and share edited audio snippets on the platform. The Soundbite feature is expected to be a TikTok rival.