Facebook is a company that is known for imitating its competitors, and this time, it has reportedly set its sights on a social audio platform that has risen to prominence out of the blue. The New York Times reports today that the Mark Zuckerberg-led company is working on a copycat of Clubhouse, the buzzy invite-only social audio startup. The Times reports the product is in the “early stages of development,” so it’s unclear if and when it might launch.
The news comes only five days after CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined Clubhouse and participated in a room to talk about the future of augmented and virtual reality. His presence on the app was shocking, given it’s a new social network, so the fact that Facebook might now be cloning Clubhouse is no surprise. The company has already done so with multiple other apps, including, most infamously, Stories, which it took from Snapchat, and Reels, its TikTok competitor that launched last year.
Twitter is also working on a Clubhouse competitor called Spaces, which is in beta at the moment. Its team acquired social podcasting company Breaker, seemingly for its expertise in social audio, to help beef up its efforts. Meanwhile, Mark Cuban is also at work on a live audio app called Fireside, which The Verge reported on earlier this week. Clearly, lots of people in tech think audio will be an important format for communicating in the future, and they’re rapidly trying to get in on it before the trend dies out.