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Podcasts, short-form Soundbites arriving on Facebook soon

Taking on popular audio chat platform Clubhouse, Facebook has announced several audio products like a short-form experience called Soundbites and the arrival of podcasts on its main platform.

Soundbites are short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and other things.

“We’ll start testing Soundbites over the next few months with a small number of creators and refine the product with their input before making it available to everyone,” Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App, said in a statement late on Monday.

To kickstart Soundbites, Facebook is introducing an ‘Audio Creator Fund’ to support emerging audio creators and get early feedback on the new product experience.

Currently, more than 170 million people are connected to hundreds of thousands of podcast pages on Facebook, and more than 35 million people are members of fan groups around podcasts.

To date, one had to leave the Facebook app to listen to these podcasts.

“Within the next few months, you’ll be able to listen to podcasts directly on the Facebook app — both while using the app or when the app is backgrounded,” the social network announced.

Facebook will also help users find new podcasts and episodes based on their interests.

“We’re also going to start testing Live Audio Rooms and we expect it to be available to everyone on the Facebook app by the summer,” said Simo.

Facebook will test Live Audio Rooms in Groups, making it available to the 1.8 billion people using Groups every month and the tens of millions of active communities on Facebook.

In addition to bringing this to Facebook, the company also plans to release Live Audio Rooms on Messenger this summer.

The company said it is building a set of new audio creation tools.

“You will be able to use music from Facebook’s Sound Collection in the background of your story to set the tone. And with the ability to mix audio tracks, a growing collection of sound effects, voice effects, and filters, it should be a lot of fun too,” Simo explained.

Additionally, Facebook will put captions on all audio experiences to make them accessible to all.

When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support their favorite creators and public figures through Stars or donate to causes they care about.

“Soon after launch, we’ll also offer other monetization models, like the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription,” said Facebook.

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