Facebook announced on Monday a series of new audio-based products and features coming in the next few months, following in the wake of the popular Clubhouse app, which has seen very strong growth so far this year.
In a corporate blog post titled “Be Heard: Bringing Audio Experiences to Facebook,” the company led by Mark Zuckerberg detailed four different voice-related services, from online tools for sound editing to the ability to share short sound bites on the social network’s homepage.
However, the two products that were most surprising were the podcast platform and the creation of spaces to broadcast live audio, as they put Facebook in direct competition with Clubhouse.
Clubhouse is a mixture of a virtual conference and an interactive podcast in which users can create rooms to discuss -in principle on any topic- through audio and with up to 5,000 people in real time, and has gained great notoriety thanks to the participation in some of these conversations of figures such as Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg himself.
The social network currently limits the number of users through two mechanisms: it is only available for Apple devices and also uses an “invitation principle”, i.e. only those who are invited by an existing user can have a voice.
Both factors mean that it is mainly used by celebrities, politicians and prominent media figures.
The initial limitation of the service to a small number of people is something that Facebook has announced it will also do, although the company’s idea is to eventually make it available to everyone.
In early March, Twitter also announced the launch of Spaces, its audio service in which anyone can create their own public conversations, to compete with Clubhouse.