Clubhouse – the buzzy audio-driven social media platform that is making waves these days – is still in the beta stage and limited to the iOS platform only. However, it appears that it will soon have some competition from a rival that is currently being developed by a tech titan. And unsurprisingly, that tech titan happens to be Facebook, a company that has a not-so-stellar reputation of ripping off rivals and bringing those features to its own platforms.
As per a report from The New York Times, Facebook has already started working on an audio chat product with a premise similar to that of Clubhouse. “Facebook executives have ordered employees to create a similar product, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. The product is in its earliest stages of development, they said,” mentions the report. Notably, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg recently appeared as a surprise guest on a Clubhouse chat.
Clubhouse – which has started working on Android app after raising a fresh round of funding that valued it at $1 billion – has demonstrated that audio is likely the next major avenue when it comes to social media communication. However, it won’t be alone on the battlefield. Twitter is already testing its own audio-based chat room feature called Spaces, and has lately started expanding the test circle.
In addition to entering the domain of audio-driven social media chats, the company is also dipping its toes into the sea of another hot trend – newsletters. The social media behemoth is reportedly working on its own newsletter tools for journalists and writers that will be deeply integrated into its vast social media universe for the sake of reach and discovery. Even though Facebook likely won’t ever admit it, but its debut in the world of newsletters is inspired by the recent rise of Substack.
Not the first time Facebook is ‘inspired’ by a rival
However, this ain’t the first ‘inspired by a rival’ rodeo (read: blatantly aping) for Facebook. Back in 2016, Facebook-owned Instagram introduced Stories, its own take on the ephemeral posts popularized by Snapchat years before it. Later, Facebook brought Stories to WhatsApp too, and subsequently to the Messenger standalone messaging app well.
More recently, Instagram copied TikTok by launching Reels and its vertical scrolling feed, and even imitated its audio features a while later. And as if that was not enough, Instagram recently announced that it will make videos recycled from Tiktok – identifiable by a prominent watermark – less discoverable on Reels.