Facebook capitalizes on social audio craze with voice recordings, podcast listening, and Clubhouse-like rooms

facebook live audio rooms audio tool
  • Facebook unveiled several new audio-based tools for interaction and creation on the platform.
  • They include live audio rooms (akin to Clubhouse) and “soundbites” for creating short audio clips.
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new products via an audio chatroom on Discord.
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Facebook is planning to launch a slate of audio-based tools in coming months as it strives to capture the growing hype around Clubhouse and other social-audio platforms.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the platform Discord on Monday to share – in an audio-only chat room – that the company is introducing new tools allowing Facebook users to interact with audio content and creators to produce it. The new tools, as first reported by Vox, include a live-audio chat feature akin to Clubhouse, the buzzy audio-chat app in talks for a funding round that would value the company at $4 billion.

In addition to these Clubhouse-like “Live Audio Rooms,” Facebook will also debut a new format for users to share content. The feature, called “Soundbites,” will eventually allow all users create and share short audio clips, which Facebook says can be used for “for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven’t yet imagined.” The new tool draws early similarities to the voice tweets capability Twitter debuted last summer.

Read more: Clubhouse only has about 35 employees. Meet the 13 executives and earliest employees behind the year-old startup in talks for a $4 billion valuation.

With Monday’s announcement, Facebook has laid out the groundwork for its vision to invest in “social audio,” the newest trend in social media in which new platforms have found success and interest. The most obvious success story is Clubhouse, the invite-only app that launched just over a year ago and found immediate success during the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on everyday social interaction. The app’s immediate popularity has brought the company more than $300 million in investments, and has spurred similar features from Twitter, Slack, Discord, LinkedIn, and Spotify (through its acquisition of Locker Room).

Still, Zuckerberg tried to pivot much of the news of the new products to Facebook’s creator audio tools, which he said would continue to “empower” users to create content.

“There are a lot of people who have something that’s really interesting they want to share. We want to make it so people can produce things they’re proud of easily with just a phone,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re building the product to give you an audio studio or recorder in your pocket.”

facebook soundbites audio tool

Facebook also announced Monday it would soon bring podcasts to the platform as part of its investment into audio content. Users will be able to discover and listen to podcasts directly on the Facebook app like they would on Apple Podcast or Stitcher. Zuckerberg also stressed that this new feature would benefit podcasters and creators by giving them access to a bigger audience. Podcasting has become a billion-dollar industry, with companies like Spotify investing big in the space, but Facebook is seemingly late to the game.

Facebook has gained the notorious role of copying new features and ideas from its competitors, the most notable example being its own version of Snapchat’s ephemeral Stories. Such accusations have also come from US lawmakers, who also have an ongoing antitrust investigation into the company. News that Facebook was first working on a Clubhouse-like feature came in February, just five days after Zuckerberg spoke as a guest on Clubhouse.

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Twitter reportedly held discussions to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion

clubhouse app 2
Twitter had talks to buy Clubhouse, Bloomberg reported.

  • Twitter held talks to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion, Bloomberg reported.
  • “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” a Twitter spokesperson told Insider.
  • Clubhouse has been downloaded 11.4 million times as of March 1.
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Twitter might be interested in buying Clubhouse.

Bloomberg reported the social media platform held talks “in recent months” to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion, but the discussions have fizzled out for unknown reasons.

“We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” a Twitter spokesperson told Insider. Clubhouse was not immediately available for comment.

Read more: Clubhouse cofounder Paul Davison had another hit social app in 2011. He explains why it failed.

Clubhouse, an invite-only social media app that lets users join and host audio talks, is in talks for a funding round that would value the company at $4 billion, per Bloomberg. The startup has raised $110 million in funding as of January 24, giving it a valuation of up to $1.4 billion.

Clubhouse’s popularity has skyrocketed this year. The app had been downloaded 11.4 million times as of March 1, according to App Annie, up from 3.5 million the month prior. The app attracted high-profile users like Paris Hilton, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Cuban.

Twitter reported promising earnings in February 2021 and announced the firm increased user count 27% to 192 million at the end of 2020. The platform made the contentious decision to permanently suspend former president Donald Trump due to his part in inciting violence during the January 6 Capitol uprising.

The San Francisco-based company recently decided to acquire the email newsletter company Revue, and to kill the live-streaming app Periscope it bought in 2015.

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How to post Twitter voice tweets and share your thoughts in playable audio files

Talking into phone
You can swap your text tweet for an audio file with Twitter’s voice tweet feature.

  • Twitter’s voice tweet feature allows users to record 2 minutes and 20 seconds of audio to share in a tweet.
  • Any voice tweets that are longer than 2 minutes and 20 seconds will appear as threaded messages with a maximum of 25 tweets.
  • The voice tweets feature is currently only available to certain iOS device users.
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If you’ve ever found Twitter’s character limit suffocating or felt frustrated by the tone of your tweets being misconstrued, one of Twitter’s newest features may be of interest. 

The social media platform recently launched a voice tweet tool to make sharing your fleeting thoughts with your followers even easier. By clicking a few simple buttons, you can record a message and post it to your timeline. This will add a personal touch and ensure your message doesn’t get lost in translation.

Voice tweets appear as regular tweets with audio attachments complete with a play button for anyone to listen to. You’ll retain the ability to write text with the tweet, which means you can also mention users or add hashtags. The recorded audio files also have a maximum length of two minutes and 20 seconds, though longer files can be saved and automatically threaded into multiple messages.

While voice tweets are currently limited to a select group of iOS users, the company plans to roll it out to a broader audience in the future. Should you have access to it now, here’s how to use voice tweets.

How to post Twitter voice tweets 

1. Open Twitter on your iOS device by tapping the app icon on your home screen. 

2. Select the tweet composition button, which looks like a feathered pen and a “+” sign. 

3. Next, choose the voice button, which looks like a soundwave icon. 

How to use voice tweets 1
Click or tap the soundwave icon to begin a voice tweet.

4. Tap the red record button and begin speaking to record your message. 

How to use voice tweets 2
The microphone icon will let you begin recording your voice tweet.

5. When your message is complete, tap “Done.”

6. Add text to the tweet, if you want, and then tap “Tweet” to send. 

How to use voice tweets 3
You can have text accompany your voice tweet.

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