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Facebook officially launches Live Audio Rooms and podcasts in the U.S. – TechCrunch

In April, Facebook announced a series of planned investments in new audio products, including a Clubhouse live audio competitor and further podcast support. Today, Facebook is officially rolling these products with the launch of Live Audio Rooms in the U.S. on iOS, starting with public figures and select Facebook Groups and the debut of an initial set of U.S. podcast partners.

The company tells us Live Audio Rooms will become available to any verified public figure or creator in the U.S. who’s in good standing with Facebook and is using either a profile or the new Facebook Pages experience on iOS. For Facebook Groups, the feature is launching with “dozens of groups,” we’re told.

Both products will become more broadly available in the weeks and months ahead as more people, podcasts, and Groups are brought on board. Meanwhile, 100% of Facebook users in the U.S. will be able to listen to Live Audio Rooms and podcasts as of this week.

Image Credits: Facebook

Like Clubhouse or similar audio apps, Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features.

The event’s hosts appear in rounded profile icons at the top of the screen, while the listeners appear in the bottom half of the screen as smaller icons. The active speaker is indicated with a glowing ring. If verified, a check appears next to their name, as well.

There are also options for enabling live captions, a “raise hand” tool to request to speak, and tools to share the room with others on Facebook through things like News Feed or Group posts.

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook does things a little differently than others in some places. For instance, hosts can invite people to join them as a speaker in advance of the session, or they can choose listeners during the stream to join them. In each session, there can be up to 50 speakers, and there’s no limit on the number of listeners, Facebook says.

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