It was rumoured back in February that Facebook is developing its own clone of Clubhouse, which would introduce a similar broadcasting service to its ecosystem. Thanks to a recent discovery by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, more details regarding the new feature have been revealed.
According to Paluzzi, the experimental version of the upcoming service was found as part of Facebook’s app code on Android, and is indicated to be a new addition to the social network’s Messenger Rooms feature. Rooms itself is considered to be the company’s answer to Zoom, enabling Facebook users to host and participate in virtual meetings or discussions – therefore, combining these elements together makes sense and eliminates the need to introduce a separate app just for broadcasting.
It is revealed that users are able to host different types of Rooms with this new feature; including Live Audio for broadcasting to listeners, and friends-only audio or video private sessions. In its current iteration, Messenger Rooms only allows for up to 50 people to participate in both audio and video sessions. The new Live Audio feature, on the other hand, will likely remove that limitation due to its broadcasting approach.
#Facebook keeps working on Audio rooms 👀
ℹ️ You will be able to choose between two types of audio rooms: Live Audio or (Private) Audio.
ℹ️ Live Audio rooms can be listened by anyone on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/4QUPIeW3hm
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) March 20, 2021
Paluzzi also showcased the broadcasting service’s interface, which does look somewhat similar to Clubhouse’s – with profile photos of featured speakers shown prominently on the upper half of the screen, while the list of listeners are displayed below. He added that these broadcasts can be joined by anybody on Facebook without having to open Messenger Rooms. Lastly, the collapsed card of any active live broadcast will display the room’s title and the total number of listeners that are tuning in.
#Facebook is working on audio rooms 👀
ℹ️ The feature appears to be in an early state of development, the UI is just a mockup at the moment. pic.twitter.com/vCBN7MCB6r
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) March 14, 2021
When approached by TechCrunch, Facebook confirmed that these new Messenger Rooms features are indeed part of its “exploratory audio efforts”. However, the social media giant did not provide an answer when asked regarding the expected rollout for these new additions. We just hope that the finalised version would not only feature Rooms occupied by nothing but Mark Zuckerberg clones as per the screenshots above.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) March 22, 2021
As previously reported, Facebook isn’t the only one attempting to capitalise on the whole audio-only broadcasting fad. Also onboard are rival social media companies Twitter and TikTok owner ByteDance. The former had recently launched its own Clubhouse clone known as Twitter Spaces, while the latter is reportedly developing its own broadcasting platform.