Facebook is taking another go at emulating the success of Clubhouse at popularizing audio chatrooms. And this time, the company is relying on its biggest social media hit – Instagram – to achieve that goal. The company is making some tweaks to Instagram Live, and is now allowing users to turn off the mic or kill their camera feed, essentially turning the live video broadcast into a group audio chat.
“We hope these features offer even more ways people can connect with each other and their communities on Instagram Live,” Facebook executive Alexandru Voica noted in his tweet. In case you’re unaware, Instagram Live allows you to go live on the platform, letting you broadcast in real-time as people watch and respond to it. The new Instagram Live trick arrives two months after the app landed a feature called Live Rooms that allows up to four people to go live simultaneously.
We are building on the Live Rooms launch from early March and launching the ability to turn your audio and/or video off during a Live broadcast.
We hope these features offer even more ways people can connect with each other and their communities on Instagram Live. pic.twitter.com/5qP7AHeIEd
— Alexandru Voica 💀 (@alexvoica) April 29, 2021
The ability to kill audio or video during an Instagram Live session not only lets the participants maintain their privacy, but will also help save some network bandwidth. If you’ve been using video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet or Zoom for your meetings on a congested network, you know what I am talking about. In this case, however, it appears that Instagram Live also wants to compete with Clubhouse by leveraging its vast user base and popularity.
However, it is not the first time that Facebook has tried to cash in on the popularity of live audio chatrooms. In the first week of April, Facebook’s NPE experimental product division launched a web-based application called Hotline that essentially blended elements of Clubhouse and Instagram Live. A couple of weeks later, Facebook introduced a new feature called Live Audio Rooms, complete with monetization tools such as the ability to charge listeners for joining a live group audio session via a one-time fee or subscription.