Facebook has finally launched its live audio service. The social media giant is rolling out Live Audio Rooms as well as Podcasts. However, the service is currently only available for those who are based in the US and have an iOS device. In addition to this, Facebook is only allowing public figures and select Facebook Groups to create Live Audio Rooms.

The company says “select podcasts will be available to listeners in the US.” “In the coming weeks, we’ll expand the ability for more public figures and Groups to host a Live Audio Room and introduce new features for both experiences in the coming months,” Facebook said in a blog post.

Those who are hosting a Live Audio Room will also get an option to select a nonprofit or fundraiser to support during their conversation, and Facebook says “listeners and speakers can directly donate.” Facebook is allowing the host to add up to 50 speakers in a live audio session. There’s no limit to the number of listeners, so anyone can join any live audio room on Facebook.

“Public figures can invite friends, followers, verified public figures, or any listeners in the room to be a speaker. The host can invite speakers in advance or during the conversation,” Facebook said. One will discover Live Audio Rooms in places like News Feed and via notifications.

The company says users can also sign up to be reminded when a Live Audio Room you’re interested in goes live. “When listening to a conversation, you’ll be notified when friends or followers join, too,” Facebook said.

Listeners will get an option to enable live captions, and there will also be a “raise a hand” button to request to join the live conversation. One will also be able to use reactions to participate in real-time. It is currently unknown when the company plans to bring its audio service to other countries like India.

Companies like Twitter and Discord have already launched their own live audio service. Spotify recently announced its own version, which is called “Greenroom.” LinkedIn is also soon to launch a similar type of feature. Popular messaging apps like Telegram already offers this audio service, called Voice Chats 2.0.

Coming to Podcasts, Facebook has also a few podcasts, including Joe Budden of The Joe Budden Podcast; “Jess Hilarious” of Carefully Reckless from The Black Effect Podcast Network and iHeartRadio; Keltie Knight, Mecca Tobin, and Jac Vanek of the LadyGang; and Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro. The company says it has plans to add more to the list soon.

One will be able to listen to podcasts while browsing Facebook, via a mini player or full-screen player experience with playback options, including with their phone display turned off.


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