Facebook is done with audio content.
The social network confirmed to TechCrunch that—as has been suspected since earlier this year—it is shuttering its nascent podcast efforts and merging its Clubhouse copycat Live Audio Rooms into its video livestreaming arm Facebook Live.
It’s also outright discontinuing its short-form audio product Soundbites, and is removing the “Audio” hub it launched in October 2021, which let users find podcasts, Live Audio Rooms, and Soundbites all in one place.
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“After a year of learning and iterating on audio-first experiences, we’ve decided to simplify our suite of audio tools on Facebook,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re constantly evaluating the features we offer so we can focus on the most meaningful experiences.”
Per the outlet, an email sent to podcasters from Facebook explains that podcasts already uploaded to its platform will remain there, and creators can publish new episodes to existing shows until June 3.
But beginning today, users can’t start publishing new shows, and after June 3, no new podcast content can be uploaded at all.
The email also oh-so-helpfully nudges podcasters to start using Reels, Instagram’s TikTok copycat (lots of copycatting going on in this situation, we know).
“Your voices and stories have inspired us and we remain committed to helping you reach and grow your audiences,” the email says. “For example, we are seeing podcast-related content being developed in video, Reels and Live to engage and grow audiences.”
It goes on to provide a link to more information about using Reels.
Meta has been pushing Reels hard, even as creators come forward with reports that monetization is flagging and video-performance targets are being raised without explanation. The social giant as a whole is tripling down on metaverse, virtual reality, and short-form video—and cutting audio seems to be a casualty of that strat.
Facebook rolled Live Audio Rooms and podcasts out in June 2021. At the time, the company’s app head Fidji Simo wrote that those steps were “just the beginning of our audio journey.”