BusinessDay

Facebook test Clubhouse clone in Taiwan as competition for live audio rooms thickens

Social media platforms are unleashing their best strategies to keep users glued to their platform. The latest is Facebook which is now testing its own audio suite, to be known as Live Audio Rooms, in Taiwan.

Facebook’s move is coming a day after Clubhouse announced it would be releasing an Android version of its very popular audio-only chatting service. Before now Clubhouse was only housed on iOS-enabled devices leaving many users unserved in different markets where Android was not popular. On Monday, Clubhouse said it was launching a beta Android app on the Play Store for users in the United States of America. It plans to gradually make the app available in other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world.

Clubhouse also seems to be responding to the newly launched Twitter Spaces which is on both Android and iOS platforms. The Twitter audio-live service is also beginning to gain popularity, especially in countries like Nigeria where Android devices dominate the market. Apple owns about 6 percent of the mobile device market in Nigeria.

At a town hall in May, Clubhouse said availability for the Android version of its app was the most requested product feature.

It appears Facebook is also paying attention to requests for the feature on its app. It was in April, the social media giant first announced it would release its version.

The Live Audio Rooms will allow creators to make money. The company is integrating its Stars feature into the audio chat product, letting fans buy tokens to support their favourites, much like they do on live-streaming platform Twitch.

Taiwan holds a sentimental value for Facebook being one of its most vibrant markets where celebrities and politicians constantly debate important issues and freely interact with their audiences.

Live Audio Rooms will be rolled out to a handful of public figures in Taiwan. Live Audio Rooms would in the future be part of Facebook Groups as well.

Facebook is also planning to add podcasts to the main Facebook app in the coming months. Having noticed the rise in popularity of Facebook pages for well-known podcasts, it’s integrating playback directly into its app

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