Social media giant Facebook has planned to shut down its podcast platform less than a year after its launch. According to a report, the audio podcast platform’s closure is confirmed and it is speculated that the closure will altogether close on June 3.
The move is part of a broader re-evaluation of Facebook’s audio products. The company is also shuttering the site’s Soundbites and Audio hubs, and integrating its live-streaming Live Audio Rooms feature (essentially a clone of once-buzzy audio app Clubhouse) into its broader Facebook Live suite, reports The Verge.
Facebook spokesperson Adelaide Coronado believes that the changes would ‘simplify’ the company’s audio offerings. “After a year of learning and iterating on audio-first experiences, we’ve decided to simplify our suite of audio tools on Facebook. We’re constantly evaluating the features we offer so we can focus on the most meaningful experiences,” said Coronado.
Facing competition from established audio podcast platforms like SiriusXM, Amazon, and Clubhouse, Facebook has realised the difficulties in establishing its foothold in this highly competitive market. Hence, with Facebook prioritising its Meta platform, the decision of shutting down its podcast platform comes as no surprise.
Last year in June, Facebook launched podcasts and live audio streams in the US to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals. Facebook said it was allowing public figures with verified accounts to start live audio rooms and invite anyone else to speak.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has appeared on the video streaming app Clubhouse in the past, hosted his own live audio room on his Facebook page soon after launch. “Live Audio Rooms and podcasts rolling out in the US is just the beginning of our audio journey,” wrote Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, during the launch.
Podcasts and live audio have also been an outlet for racism, misinformation, and extremist material. Live audio is particularly difficult to moderate, compared with traditional social media posts.