Facebook Social Audio

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Tests New Social Audio Platform to Talk Gaming

Facebook previewed its upcoming Live Audio Rooms in a real-time event hosted by CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week. Zuckerberg and a handful of other Facebook executives joined a room on the social audio platform to discuss gaming, including the games they’ve played on Facebook, what games they like to stream, and some of the upcoming games-related features coming to Facebook.

Live Audio Rooms

Facebook laid out its social audio plans in April, including the Live Audio Rooms for Facebook and Facebook Messenger. The Live Audio Rooms have been undergoing tests internally and with public figures in Taiwan, but Zuckerberg’s chat was a first for North America. Facebook Reality Labs head Andrew Bosworth, Facebook App head Fidji Simo and a few Facebook Gaming creators. The group showcased how the social audio feature works in amongst the announcement of a new kind of Facebook post specifically to help find other people to play games with and that badges earned during streaming will also appear on fan groups.

The actual experience of using Facebook Live Audio Rooms is very similar to Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. Users of either should feel comfortable with it. The only real differences are found in the live captioning not seen on Clubhouse and how easy it is to share the recording afterward with other panelists or in a post. Viewers can also share a thumbs-up emoji as a sort of virtual applause when the speakers are talking. At the same time, the room didn’t have any way for someone to raise their hand and get invited onto the state, which may just be because it’s still in beta. That’s likely also why the feature could only be accessed on the iOS and Android mobile Facebook app.

Social Creation

Zuckerberg didn’t give an official launch date for the Live Audio Rooms, though the original announcement pegged the release for this summer. Regardless, Facebook plans to make the feature available to groups and celebrities like NFL player Russell Wilson and director Elle Moxley. The Facebook tipping system, Stars, will be used to transfer tips during events as well.

“As part of this initial rollout — and because we know communities aren’t built just in Groups — we’ll also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans,” Simo wrote in a blog post during the initial announcement. “We’re making live audio both accessible and discoverable so that public figures… can share ideas with new audiences and create a forum for discussion, without the added pressure of being on camera.”

The initial celebrities and, eventually, any audio room host with Live Audio Rooms will be able to start charging people to get in with a single fee or through a regular subscription. Zuckerberg tied social audio and gaming to the broader creator economy he wants Facebook to support. That also fits with the way Facebook is pitching social audio options with the Instagram Live Rooms. In all cases, Facebook won’t take a cut of any revenue the celebrities or other creators make from social audio or gaming, at least for now.

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