CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement Monday (April 19), saying Facebook is looking into building technology that allows users to engage in real-time conversations via audio, according to CNBC. The feature will be called Live Audio Rooms, and the company is planning for it to be available for users of both the Facebook and Messenger apps this summer.
Zuckerberg said the company is looking to ramp up investments on audio features to build them out in the next several years. He said audio “is of course also going to be a first-class medium, and there are all these different products to be built across this whole spectrum,” CNBC reported.
The company is planning to start Live Audio Rooms tests within groups on Facebook. Zuckerberg said it would be easy to roll it out in various groups that are already aligned around common interests, CNBC reported. The company will also allow users to charge fees others to join their audio rooms, either through a single purchase or a subscription as a way for creators to monetize their work.
In addition, Zuckerberg said there would be another product called Soundbites coming out, which would contain short-form audio clips likes jokes for people to listen to, with Facebook putting those into a feed and using an algorithm to decide which clips are played for which users, according to CNBC.
The feature doesn’t come as a surprise; Facebook has a long history of duplicating products from social media rivals like Snap, CNBC reported.