Instagram Live gets new tools that essentially turn it into Clubhouse

by Jeremy

Facebook is taking another go at emulating the success of Clubhouse at popularizing audio chatrooms. And this time, the company is relying on its most significant social media hit – Instagram – to achieve that goal. The company is making some tweaks to Instagram Live and allowing users to turn off the mic or kill their camera feed, essentially turning the live video broadcast into a group audio chat.

“We hope these features offer even more ways people can connect and their communities on Instagram Live,” Facebook executive Alexandru Voica noted in his tweet. If you’re unaware, Instagram Live allows you to go live on the platform, letting you broadcast in real-time as people watch and respond to it. The new Instagram Live trick arrives two months after the app landed a Live Rooms feature that allows up to four people to go live simultaneously.

The ability to kill audio or video during an Instagram Live session lets the participants maintain their privacy and help save some network bandwidth. If you’ve been using video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet or Zoom for your meetings on a congested network, you know what I am talking about. In this case, however, it appears that Instagram Live also wants to compete with Clubhouse by leveraging its vast user base and popularity.

However, it is not the first time that Facebook has tried to cash in on the popularity of live audio chatrooms. In the first week of April, Facebook’s NPE experimental product division launched a web-based application called Hotline that essentially blended Clubhouse and Instagram Live elements. A couple of weeks later, Facebook introduced a new feature called Live Audio Rooms, complete with monetization tools such as the ability to charge listeners for joining a live group audio session via a one-time fee or subscription.

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