Facebook has launched the public beta testing for ‘Hotline’ which is its new web-based application that many could describe as a mashup between Instagram Live and Clubhouse. Here, creators can speak to the audience and take questions in a live session that can involve audio, video and even text elements. Also Read - WhatsApp announces rollout of end-to-end encrypted backups for Android, iOS
Hotline is the brainchild of Facebook’s internal R&D group NPE Team (New Product Experimentation) and is a rival to the popular invite-only audio chat platform Clubhouse which has seen a surge in the number of users thanks to celebrities and top entrepreneurs like Elon Musk endorsing it. Also Read - Facebook launches Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses alongside new Facebook View app
Putting it through the test
As per a Techcrunch report, real estate investor Nick Huber is the first one to test out the public beta version of the app and the company believes that Huber is the kind of user that the company wants to push the app to. Also Read - WhatsApp multi-device for iPad users in the works, release expected soon
Microblogging platform Twitter has also been testing its own audio-only chat platform Spaces while Facebook itself has been experimenting with live audio room in its Messenger app. Clearly, the audio-only communication platform is booming amid the COVID-19 pandemic which is why companies are looking to put in big money into these projects.
In fact, Hotline’s user interface will look similar to Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces so that people who have already used the former apps don’t have difficulty navigation Hotline.
A Facebook spokesperson said that Hotline has been created with an aim to target “knowledge experts” who can provide insights and tips to aspiring professionals in the field of health, education etc. She also said that the team is looking into ways to explore how users’ questions might be “upvoted”.
Facebook to moderate content on Hotline
The application currently doesn’t have any limitation in terms of the number of users it can accommodate. Hosts are also able to remove questions from the queue and Facebook said that it is looking to moderate inappropriate content on Hotline in the testing phase itself. The company has also said that this is not a standalone app and Facebook is looking to integrate authentication methods through Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook.
NPE is also testing a video app called Super which is more like a video version of Hotline and users can meet other influencers to talk about their professional experiences and more. The same team also tested an audio-only version of the same last year dubbed CatchUp, which was shut down.