Facebook released its new Live Audio Rooms live audio tool in the US this week. It comes with many new, valuable features that make it easier for creators to chat with other creators and their audience.

Who can use the Live Audio Room?

According to Facebook, any verified US user with a clean record can use the tool. Unfortunately, only Facebook iOS app users can host rooms, so public figures with an Android can’t host rooms at this time. However, iOS and Android users can join a room and listen. A small number of groups can use the feature as well.

What is Live Audio Room?

You’ll be able to see the hosts at the top of the screen with Facebook’s standard circle profile pictures. Whenever someone speaks, their profile picture will have a blue ring appear while the person is talking. Listeners’ profile pictures will display at the bottom of the screen. Facebook has created a “raise hand” feature that allows listeners to request to speak. It’ll be interesting to see how this feature works in practice — it should make it easier to take questions from the hosts’ audiences.

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Live Audio Room
Image courtesy: Facebook

Hosts have complete control over who can speak before the session starts and choose who can listen during the stream. In total, the tool allows up to 50 speakers. There’s no listener number limit. Listeners can react and send Starts (Facebook’s virtual currency for creator monetization) to the host during the broadcast. Those who donate get to join the “Front Row” section of the Room. This allows hosts to see who is showing support.

How does the feature work in groups?

It works a little differently in groups. Admins have control over the room. They can choose to either let other admins, moderators or group members create a Live Audio Room. If the group is private, only members of the group can listen in. In public groups, everyone can attend.

Facebook does have plans to release the feature to more people in the coming months. To be clear, everyone on Facebook can listen to Live Audio Rooms. The tool only limits who can host a Room. We’re looking forward to seeing how Facebook grows this tool, especially since many are comparing it to Clubhouse, an invite-only voice chat room platform. Live Audio Room does beat Clubhouse in a few areas, such as not having a cap on the number of listeners. It’ll be intriguing to see how their competition will pave the way forward for both platforms.