Facebook is famously fond of nabbing features from rival platforms in a bid to stay relevant. Its latest target is reportedly the voice-based social network Clubhouse, which has been causing quite a stir in some circles despite still being an invite-only platform during what is turning into a lengthy beta phase.
Social networking giant Facebook is “building an audio chat product similar to Clubhouse” that is “in its earliest stages of development,” according to two insiders who shared information with the the New York Times this week.
For those not in the know, Clubhouse is an iOS app that lets folks gather in audio chat rooms where they can discuss an array of topics, though it’s also experimenting with things like celebrity talk shows, networking events, and theatrical performances. The app, which launched in April 2020, currently has around two million weekly users and was created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth of Salt Lake City-based Alpha Exploration Co.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has himself already tried Clubhouse, making a surprise appearance in one of its virtual rooms last week to talk about augmented reality and virtual reality technology. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also helped thrust Clubhouse further into the limelight when he showed up on it a week earlier.
In response to an inquiry from the New York Times about its report, Facebook spokesperson Emilie Haskell, while not outright denying that it’s considering incorporating Clubhouse-like features into its service, refused to offer any conformation, saying only: “We’ve been connecting people through audio and video technologies for many years and are always exploring new ways to improve that experience for people.”
Facebook hasn’t been shy in the past about grabbing the best features from other social apps, so there’s every chance we could see a Clubhouse clone landing on its platform before the year’s out. Facebook-owned Instagram, for example, took Stories from Snapchat in 2016, before adding TikTok-like Reels in 2020. But its efforts don’t always work out, evidenced by the closure of its Flipboard-like standalone Paper app in 2015 just a year after it launched.
Twitter, meanwhile, has already jumped on the Clubhouse bandwagon with Spaces, which it started testing in December 2020.
Want to know more about Clubhouse? Digital Trends has an insightful article telling you all you need to know about the latest social media app to cause a buzz.