Facebook officially launches live audio rooms


Facebook today launched Clubhouse-style live audio rooms, along with a way to find and play podcasts across its platform, marking a push to social audio by the world's largest social network. Facebook's launch of a potential competitor to Club House follows the early success of its Live Voice app, which was a huge hit during lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was one of the Silicon Valley celebrities who popped up on the newly expanded app for Android users. Facebook, which has said it wants to make audio a first-class medium across its platforms, joins Twitter and Discord, which have launched their own live audio shows.

Spotify has launched its own version called Greenroom. Microsoft-owned Slack, Reddit, and LinkedIn are also working on similar products. Public figures and some Facebook groups in the US using iOS can create live audio rooms, with up to 50 speakers and unlimited listeners.

Live audio rooms offer a host of additional features, such as notifications when your friends or followers join a room, as well as live captions. There is a hand raise button to request to join the conversation, and feedback is available for interaction during the chat. These users can also invite people who don't have a verification badge to speak, Facebook said. iOS and Android users can listen to the rooms.

The company, which has been vocal in its quest to attract content creators, said it was partnering with public figures including musicians, journalists, and athletes in the live audio rooms.

Listeners can send stars via Facebook to creators in the live audio rooms. Zuckerberg said the company won't take a commission from content creators' revenue until 2023.

Administrators within groups can control who is allowed to create a room. Including admins, group members, or other admins. Public group chats can also be accessed within and outside the group, but private group chats are limited to members. In addition, hosts can also choose a non-profit organization or fundraiser to support during their conversation using a direct donation button that appears in the chat.

A number of selected podcasts are also available on Facebook for listeners in the United States. The company said it will soon add to this initial list.

People can listen to podcasts with either a mini player or a full-screen player. There are several playback controls, including the ability to listen while the screen is off. Facebook faces the challenges of moderating live and recorded audio content, including in private Facebook groups. Facebook is also working on a joint venture with Spotify to share and listen to music across the platform.

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