A messaging feature that Clubhouse is preparing to launch, called Backchannel, was accidentally leaked to some users late last week. Based on many of the tweets that circulated (including screen recording), Backchannel is an obvious way for users to chat via text rather than voice. It appears that the feature was not mentioned at all in the app's release notes, and what was rolled out appears to be clearly incomplete.
It's not clear how long this version of Backchannel has been around, but it appears that Clubhouse quickly removed it.
A Clubhouse spokesperson said, as part of the process of building our products, the company regularly explores and tests potential features. Sometimes these functions become part of the application, sometimes they are not. We do not comment on potential features.
It's unclear how big the rollout will be because the feature has been public for a short period of time. This makes it difficult to gauge whether it was only spotted by a small number of users who happened to have the app open at the time, or if it was only intended to appear as a limited beta.
The CEO of the company previously said, I think there are a lot of people who use direct messages all the time. And there are a lot of people who want to deepen friendships and relationships with people and do all kinds of other things. And I think that's something we should have.
Clubhouse co-founder explained that building the feature to fit the app's use cases wouldn't be cliched and wouldn't happen right away. He also declined to reveal whether the app was adding individual direct messages or a more open group text chat feature.
And the new Spotify counterfeit Greenroom offers its own live text chat room that users can access by swiping right in the app, giving it a little flexibility that Clubhouse doesn't offer yet.