Facebook officially launched podcasts and live audio streams in the U.S. on Monday to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals.
Facebook says it is allowing public figures with verified accounts to start live audio rooms and invite anyone else to speak. A handful of podcasts will be available to people in the U.S. at first and the company plans to add more down the line.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has appeared on the video streaming app Clubhouse in the past, hosted his own live audio room on his Facebook page last week.
“Looking ahead, we are working with creators who will use our audio tools to further develop and launch Soundbites – short-form, creative audio clips,” wrote Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, in a blog post Monday.
But podcasts and live audio have also been an outlet for racism, misinformation and extremist material. Live audio is particularly difficult to moderate. Facebook, which announced its audio plans to push into audio streams in April, says its rules apply to live audio and podcasts and anyone can report offending material.