The ears are now an integral part of the face.
Facebook on Monday introduced a series of eagerly anticipated audio features, with a nod to the successful video streaming app Clubhouse among other products.
The focus includes verified account holders to host podcasts.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has appeared on Clubhouse, just last week hosted a live audio room on his Facebook page.
“Live Audio Rooms and podcasts rolling out in the US is just the beginning of our audio journey,” Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, wrote in a blog on Monday. “Looking ahead, we are working with creators who will use our audio tools to further develop and launch Soundbites — short-form, creative audio clips.”
Among other highlights is a process that will enable users to dial in existing podcasts as they are browsing the Facebook app.
While the additions are not exactly original thinking – Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces already have similar features in place – the move keeps Facebook in the hunt for audio specialization with other competitors including Twitter and Spotify.
The “Live Audio Rooms” feature, which became available on Monday in the U.S., offers users real-time audio chats. Public figures and certain Facebook groups can create Live Audio Rooms and invite their followers.
Facebook also announced stepped-up podcasting options that include podcasters such as Joe Budden and Nicaila Matthews Okome, with more coming.
Addressing extremism, racism and other social media issues, Facebook said its existing rules apply to live audio and podcasts and that any offending material can be reported.
“In addition, our broader integrity and safety work and the tools we have built for proactively and automatically identifying harmful content are great building blocks, but we plan to adapt tech and processes as we learn more,” Facebook said in a prepared statement.
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