Facebook is expanding its presence in the world of podcasts and “chat rooms” – technology

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In an effort to benefit from the growing passion for new technical innovations in the field of audio content since the beginning of the pandemic, Facebook announced that its users will be able to “listen to podcasts” directly through the application “of the network in the coming months..

The giant social network also intends to add tools to create audio content and create short audio formats, especially live audio “chat rooms” (“Live Audio Rooms”), in a move inspired by the “Clubhouse” platform that has achieved great success for months and allows users to listen or participate in Audio discussions.

“More than 170 million people are connected to hundreds of thousands of Facebook pages via podcasts and more than 35 million are members of fan groups for podcasts,” said Fidji Simo, a mobile application officer at Facebook. “But as of this moment, we still have to leave Facebook to listen to the episodes.”.

She added, “And because discovering podcasts you love remains difficult, we will help you easily find new files and episodes according to your interests..

In the United States, fans of podcasts use Spotify, especially on “Spotify”, followed by specialized applications of “Apple” and “Google”, then the “Pandora” platform and software sites and the application of “Audible” for audiobooks from “Amazon”, according to a survey conducted by “e Marketer “a year ago.

Listening to podcasts directly on Facebook enables the network to strengthen the constellation of its services (meeting forums, shopping and entertainment services …) to make users spend more time on it, which increases its advertising revenue.

The giant American network has been intensifying its efforts for years to keep up with the latest trends and follow the uses that are popular with the young population, especially by imitating new formats and popular networks.

And in August, Facebook added a “Rails” feature to its Instagram service, which is based on posting short videos similar to the contents provided on TikTok..

The “clubhouse” effect

Under the influence of the “Zoom” video conference service and then the “Clubhouse”, Facebook has expanded the range of video and audio live broadcasting features on its network and also on “Instagram.”.

The Clubhouse has reached a value of $ 4 billion, despite being exclusively available to Apple’s iOS users and upon invitations, only a year after it was launched with great secrecy in Silicon Valley..

And Facebook indicated that it will test a feature called “Live Audio Rooms” (direct audio rooms), in tens of millions of active groups on the platform. It is expected to be available to all users by summer.

Influencers (actors and activists) and amateurs will also be able to use new tools to create audio content, especially to record audio clips (“soundbites”), a format that will be subject to tests in the coming months. This is associated, for example, with the publication of poems, short stories, or comic strips.

And in the audio rooms, content creators will have access to profit-making capabilities, including soliciting donations or subscription models. One of the major challenges in the sector is the ability to generate revenue for authors or presenters.

The US network is also working with Spotify to improve the integration of the Swedish music giant’s streaming services to Facebook. “This combination is mainly about sharing and listening to music, but you can also share podcasts and listen to them,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP..

Podcasts have been popular since before the pandemic, but home quarantine measures and the fatigue caused by spending long hours in front of screens contributed to the increased passion for podcast platforms..

Since December, Twitter has been experimenting with the “Spice” discussion space feature, which it is supposed to launch soon, after it launched the audio tweets (with a maximum duration of 140 seconds) last June..

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