Facebook has announced that it will introduce a series of new audio features over the next few months. These features include live voice chat rooms, which is the Facebook version of the popular “Clubhouse” app that allows users to listen and participate in live chats. Voice networks increased in popularity a lot during the Corona pandemic.
Facebook will also launch a new feature, called “Sound Bits”, that allows users to create and share short audio clips. This feature is scheduled to be launched over the next few months, and will initially be available to a small number of developers.
Users will be able to make money from the live voice chat rooms and “soundbites” features, although it is not yet clear if this will be available to anyone or only for developers who have a large number of followers. Facebook will also allow users to listen to podcasts directly from the Facebook app.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced these new features while speaking to journalist Casey Newton on Monday. In a statement, Fidji Simo, responsible for Facebook application affairs, said, “The sound fits seamlessly into our busy lives, and allows us to be inspired by new ideas and talk to others who share our thinking without pressure.”
It is not clear yet how Facebook plans to oversee the audio channels. Almost simultaneously with Zuckerberg announcing Facebook’s plans, Reddit announced its version of “Clubhouse”, which it called “Reddit Talk.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook are facing charges of anti-competitive behavior by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Last year, Zuckerberg admitted to imitating competitors, saying that Facebook “has definitely adapted features that others have had a head start on.”
Instagram Reels, which was launched last year, looks similar to the TikTok app. Instagram Stories, launched in 2016, has also been criticized as being stolen from the Snapchat app. Critics argue that the big tech firms’ “borrowing” ideas from smaller firms could eliminate competition.