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Facebook launches Live Audio Rooms, podcasts

Facebook launched Live Audio Rooms on Monday. Photo courtesy of Facebook
Facebook launched Live Audio Rooms on Monday. Photo courtesy of Facebook

June 21 (UPI) -- Facebook said it's rolling out Live Audio rooms and podcasts Monday in the United States.

Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, said in the announcement of the launch that it is part of a broader plan to include social audio experiences on the platform.

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Facebook, which owns Messenger and WhatsApp, previously saw the rise of audio on its platforms from audio calls to audio messages, and it has been looking at ways to enhance audio content to create a more immersive storytelling experience for the everyday user.

Now, public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States will be able to create Live Audio Rooms on iOS, and select podcasts will be available, according to Simo's statement.

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"Live Audio Rooms on Facebook enable you to discover, listen in on and join live conversations with public figures, experts and others about topic you're interested in," her statement said.

The Live Audio Rooms may include up to 50 speakers and an unlimited number of listeners, according to the statement.

Public figures may invite "friends, followers, verified public figures, or any listeners," into the room to be a speaker " in advance or during the conversation," Simo added in the statement.

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Facebook listed some of the public figures that will roll out Live Audio Rooms and some of the topics in the announcement.

Among them, Grammy-nominated electronic music artist TOKiMONSTA will create a Live Audio Room to discuss female excellence and overcoming obstacles.

Other public figures will include U.S. football quarterback Russell Wilson, who will discuss how to train the mind like an elite athlete, and organizer, independent journalist and scholar-activist Rosa Clemente, who will discuss affirming Blackness in the Latinx community.

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Noble Peace Prize Nominee Amanda Nguyen, founder of the nonprofit civil rights organization Rise, which worked to pass the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights into law, will also have a room with other activists about pursuing justice, according to the announcement.

Initial podcasts include Joe Budden of The Joe Budden Podcast; Jess Hilarious of Carefully Reckless from The Black Effect Podcast Network and iHeartRadio; Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin, and Jac Vanek of the LadyGang; and Nicaila Matthews Okome of Side Hustle Pro, with more podcasts to roll out in coming weeks.

Facebook also plans to launch other additional features this summer like the ability to create and share short clips of a podcast, and to roll out Soundbites, short-form, creative audio clips, later this year.

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