Facebook to introduce podcasts and live audio rooms

Facebook has begun the rollout of platform-hosted podcasts and live audio rooms in the United States as part of its plans to tap into the social audio boom.

The platform will now allow US users to listen to podcasts as they browse on iOS devices, with content being displayed in both newsfeeds and on creator pages.

Users will be able to listen to content via a mini-player or full-screen mode with a range of playback options, including a standby listening mode to stream content while the screen is off. An array of react, comment, save and share tools will also be available.

Facebook has also detailed its plans to add captions and a clip-sharing feature named Soundbites in addition to a host of dedicated social audio tools.

Initial podcasts added to the platform include The Joe Budden Podcast, Jess Hilarious, Side Hustle Pro and The LadyGang, with more titles slated to arrive in coming months.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s new live audio room feature adds the ability to engage in live conversations with public figures and topical experts, following a similar mould to apps such as Clubhouse and Spotify’s recent Greenroom venture.

Users will be able to discover and join live audio rooms from their news feed and through push notifications, and can sign up for reminders when their favourite rooms go live.

Live captions and fundraising tools will also be integrated into the service, while live audio rooms for Groups will allow users to discover and join private, moderated conversations on a variety of topics.

A number of athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, journalists and activists, such as Kehlani, Reggie Watts, TOKiMONSTA, Rosa Clemente, Tina Knowles-Lawson and Joe Budden, will be among the first to launch live audio rooms on the platform.

Facebook is reportedly looking to introduce both podcasts and live audio rooms to international users in the coming months, with more details on its rollout expected to be announced soon.

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