Facebook has announced the official launch of Live Audio Rooms, one of the social audio features it announced recently.
As part of the rollout, Facebook now allows public figures and a select few Facebook Groups in the US to create Live Audio Rooms on iOS. Within the next few weeks, the feature will expand to more public figures and Groups, allowing them to host Live Audio Rooms.
Furthermore, in the next few months, Facebook has promised to bring new features for Live Audio Rooms and podcasts – the other feature currently launching in the US.
Live Audio Rooms let users “discover, listen in on and join live conversations with public figures, experts, and others about topics [they’re] interested in.” Hosts can invite anyone to be a speaker in their Rooms, like friends, followers, verified public figures, or any other listeners, in advance or during a session.
Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms allow up to 50 speakers at any time; however, there is no limit to the number of listeners.
In Groups, admins can control whether moderators, group members, or other admins can create Live Audio Rooms. In public Groups, both members and visitors can listen to a Live Audio Room – In private Groups, only members can listen in.
The feature will be handy for nonprofits or fundraisers as Live Audio Room hosts can choose one to support, while and listeners and speakers can donate directly.
While only users on iOS can host Live Audio Rooms, users on iOS and Android can discover and join from News Feed and notifications. Users can also sign up to be reminded when Live Audio Rooms go live.
Furthermore, Live Audio Rooms offer notifications when friends or followers join, live captions, the ability to “raise a hand” to ask to talk, and reactions to engage in real-time.
In terms of monetization, listeners can “support and show appreciation” for their host by sending Stars, which then “bumps” them to the “front row” – a section that showcases supporters so that hosts can recognize them. Listeners can purchase Stars packs and send them at any time.
In addition to Live Audio Rooms, Facebook is also launching podcasts on its platform, letting users listen while browsing Facebook via a mini player or full-screen player. Within the next few months, Facebook will roll out new features, like captions or the ability to create and share short clips from podcasts.
Finally, Facebook is also developing a new Soundbites feature that will offer “short-form, creative audio clips.” The experience is meant to launch later this year.