Facebook Clubhouse rivals to be announced next week

Clubhouse is the new kid on the social media block that everyone seems to want to be, acquire, or even kill. From Facebook to Twitter to even Telegram, social networking services are quickly jumping on the audio-only broadcast train, putting their own unique twists and features. There is perhaps no other social media company so intent in surpassing Clubhouse than Facebook, and the giant is set to announce not a single Clubhouse competitor but a handful of features that put audio front and center.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long been reported to have fallen head over heels with Clubhouse, or at least the concept of it. He had directed the company's New Product Experimentation (NPE) group to come up with various apps and services that will rival or even beat Clubhouse's growing fame. Surprisingly, Facebook hasn't come up with a single 1:1 Clubhouse competitor but will instead launch a suite of features and services under a "Social Audio" banner.

Vox reports that Facebook has no less than four audio projects to reveal on Monday. One is simply an extension to its Messenger Rooms, giving users an audio-only option to the video conferencing service it launched just last year. There might also be a new product or feature that will let Facebook users record and post brief voice messages, something similar to what Twitter has already implemented recently.

Beyond extensions to existing services, Facebook is also expected to announce a completely new product that does resemble Clubhouse a bit, allowing uses to listen to and interact with speakers on an audio-only "stage". This sounds pretty close to the "Hotline" service Facebook NPE started testing last week. There are also rumors about a partnership with Spotify that may revolve around podcast discovery, a new venture that the audio streaming giant has recently jumped into.

The report says that while Facebook may announce these new products tomorrow, their exact availability still remains up in the cloud. Their debut, however, couldn't come at a worse time for Clubhouse just as the nascent social network's future is being put into question. Despite its popularity, Clubhouse's reach remains limited due to its invite-only system and exclusivity on iOS, though an Android port might finally be launched next month.