Facebook is launch its social audio features. The company rolls out its Clubhouse-style audio rooms, as well as a handful of podcasts.
Audio rooms are similar to Clubhouses or Twitter Spaces. Conversations are streamed live in the app, and room hosts can invite others to speak with them. As a sign of how important this feature is to Facebook, the app will promote Conversations at the top of the News Feed above Stories. The new format also includes creator-friendly features, such as the ability to purchase “stars,” in-app giveaways that help influencers make money from their feeds.
In particular, Facebook will rely on automation and user reports to enforce its content rules with the new format. And like Clubhouse, which sometimes has struggle in moderation, room hosts can control who speaks or report users who break the rules. Facebook also appears to take a somewhat cautious approach to begin with, as only public figures and verified creators in the United States with accounts in “good standing” are able to create a room. However, any Facebook user can eavesdrop on a conversation or participate if the host invites them to speak.
Audio rooms will also largely feature in Facebook groups, where moderators and group admins can enable audio streaming features, even for unverified members or public figures. Facebook says it is making “selected” groups available to begin with, but plans to expand its availability.
In addition to rooms, Facebook is also starting to add podcasts to its platform. With the update, fans can listen to podcast episodes while browsing Facebook. It starts off with just a handful of names, including Joe Budden and Nicaila Matthews Okome, but will open up to more podcasts over the next few weeks.
With the new features, Facebook is the latest company to try and compete with Clubhouse, which has grown in popularity over the past year. Twitter has also invested heavily in audio with Spaces, and Spotify has just launched its version of the service with Greenroom.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through any of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.