Facebook quietly launched a test phase on Wednesday for a new conferencing app, Hotline, a new attempt by the social media giant to keep up with the hotly-trending live audio niche.
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Hotline is in fact inspired in particular by Clubhouse, the conversations app launched a year ago which has grown very quickly thanks to the pandemic, although it is only accessible by invitation and on the mobile devices of the Apple brand for now.
Facebook’s new service emphasizes the ability to ask questions in writing, which is not possible on Clubhouse. Speakers can thus choose who to invite “on stage” to speak in the conference.
“With Hotline, we hope to understand how multimedia, interactive and live question-and-answer sessions can help people learn from experts. It also helps experts to develop their business, ”explains Facebook, contacted by AFP.
Unlike Clubhouse, there will be the possibility to activate video and the lectures will be recorded. The organizer will receive a digital copy.
The app thus builds a more professional and calibrated image, less spontaneous and nebulous than the rising star of social media, which has made large-scale privacy its credo.
The experiment is being carried out by a Facebook research and development group led by Érik Hazzard, who joined Facebook when the Californian group bought its “tbh” question-and-answer application.
“We are experimenting on multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab and BARS and it is encouraging to see how these formats help people connect with each other and form communities,” added Émilie Haskell, communications manager at Facebook.
Testing on the CatchUp audio calling app ended last year. Venue is another question-and-answer product, while the recently launched collaborative music apps Collab and BARS are more like TikTok, whose short and lightweight formats continue to inspire other platforms.
Under the influence of the Zoom videoconferencing service and then of Clubhouse, Facebook has already multiplied and extended the video and audio functionalities live, on the network and on Instagram. The Californian group is also developing a Clubhouse rival within the Messenger “lounges”.
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