How Is Facebook Planning To Tackle The ‘Clubhouse’ Threat?

by Sai Vardhan

How Is Facebook Planning To Tackle The ‘Clubhouse’ Threat?

April 11, 2021

A little over a year ago there was a bustle in the tech bubble to make the next big social media platform that would take on all the existing ones such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. They all banked on the growing discontent of the public towards the already established platforms. The majority of the startups lost steam before their fruition but one app managed to make its mark and this app is called the 'CLUBHOUSE'

Hotline does sound like something that has a role to play in an increasingly virtual world.

 The clubhouse is an audio-only social media app, with audio as its essence that separates it from other social media apps. It’s a mix of podcasts and conference meetings that one can log into and participate remotely. The only way you can get into the clubhouse is through an official invite to the app, giving it exclusivity.  The app also has the presence of a plethora of high profile people, celebrities and stars with whom you can interact. The application, for now is exclusively available to I Phone users only, it is only available on iOS, but in a recent blog post, the company notified users that the android version of the app was a work in progress. 

The present social media scenario is dominated by the giant Facebook and there is no doubt that Facebook after ample time, has started working on the launch of its own clubhouse competition. 

The company’s internal group- NPE Team on Wednesday launched its experimental app ‘HOTLINE’ into the public beta testing phase. 

The company opened the Hotline’s beta testing with the real estate investor Nick Huber hosting a Q&A session through livestream.

What Makes Hotline Different from Clubhouse?

Hotline’s online group activity with a live interactive Q&A session looks to be a mashup of clubhouse and Fb’s own popular app Instagram, where users can ask questions in writing and can also interact with the speaker if chosen to go live.

However, the entire event will be monitored by an in house team and they’ll dismiss anyone who violates the rules and concerns raised by the host, additionally, the speaker can also delete the abusive comments from the chats 

The Q&A aspect of Hotline simply entails the speaker posing questions to the users participating, while people choose which questions they want to be answered and can react with emojis-like heart, fire, laughter, surprise etc. As of now, the sign-in process requires a user to have a Twitter account that can be used to sign in and later can be verified by SMS.

Facebook is creating this application for both mobile platform iOS and Android which makes it more accessible than Clubhouse at the moment. 

Speaking about what makes the Hotline distinct from Clubhouse, in Clubhouse, the host simply doesn’t control audience participation and it’s not a live Q&A space, plus the host can’t stop all the negative comments, content. The clubhouse’s biggest issue is it is invite-only which is available on iOS itself making it difficult for normal users.

Facebook’s yet to give an official announcement as to when Hotline will be available for the public. 

Facebook Hotline will support the video and will let participants toggle the video when asking a question.

Other Platforms by Facebook's NPE

Facebook is not restricting itself with Hotline itself, but they are in the process of developing and testing a bunch of apps, like the creator app called Super- similar to Cameo, an audio-only app called as Catch Up, which shut down last year, as well as another Q&A creation is known as Venue, which is more of a Twitter-like companion for live events and recently they launched TikTok-esque video apps Collab and BARS, which focused on collaborative music and raps, respectively. We can see that Hotline is set to compete with the clubhouse application and how Facebook is determined to keep up with all new players and platforms available in audio, video, text and other platforms too.


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