Facebook started rolling out Live Audio Rooms and podcasts on the platform for US users. The feature is quite similar and a rival to Clubhouse. The host can invite friends, followers or listeners to be a speaker. There can be up to 50 speakers in a room, with no limit to the number of listeners.
Live Audio Rooms feature is available to few public figures and select Facebook groups in the US for now and will be expanded for more users in the coming weeks. This will directly rival the likes of Clubhouse, Twitter spaces, and more such platforms and have similar features too.
Facebook Group admins can select whether the moderators, group members, or other admins can create a Live Audio Room. Users can join any public room to listen, and only members can listen to the private group. Audio Room hosts can also choose to support a nonprofit or fundraiser during the conversation, and listeners can directly donate.
Both iOS and Android users can discover Live Audio Rooms from news feed or an invite to join, but only iOS users can host a Live Audio Room for now. Listeners can also enable Live captions, select the “raise a hand” option to request to join the conversation, and use reactions to participate in real-time.
"Listeners can also offer support and show appreciation to the public figure host of the Live Audio Room by sending Stars, which bumps those listeners up to the “front row.” The “front row” is a special section that highlights people who sent Stars, so hosts can recognize supporters (and maybe even give them a shout out during the conversation!). Listeners can purchase Stars packs during the conversation and send them anytime." Facebook said in a blog post.
Facebook will roll out features like captions and the ability to crop out short clips of a podcast and share. Users can listen to the podcasts with their phone display turned off and also be able to react, comment, bookmark, and share favorite podcasts.
It's hard to find any Social Media space Facebook has already stepped its foot in, and the ultimate goal for these two feature launches is to develop and launch a new platform Soundbites. "We are excited to partner with this community to refine the Soundbites experience before it launches later this year. We’ll also soon start testing our other audio products like the central listening destination and background audio listening for videos." Facebook added in their blog.