In addition to its experiments with Facebook’s Clubhouse competitor and a Q&A platform like a Clubhouse on the Web, the company is now using one of its larger products to respond to the Clubhouse threat: Instagram Live. Today, Instagram announced the addition of a new feature that allows users to mute their microphones and even turn off their videos when using Instagram Live. Instagram explains that these new features will give hosts more flexibility during their livestream experience, as they can reduce the pressure of watching or listening in a certain way during live broadcasts.
While this may be true, the reality is that Facebook enables a “video-off” experience from Clubhouse’s playbook that simply encourages more shameless conversations. People don’t have to worry about what they look like, they are often more convenient to jump into a voice chat. In addition, audio only allows creators to engage with their community while multitasking – perhaps working or hanging out, and not sitting at the camera.
To this day, this is one of the advantages of using Clubhouse vs. Live Video Chat. You can take part in the voice chat rooms of the clubhouse without always paying attention to the conversation or worrying about background noise. For now, hosts won’t be able to turn videos on or off or mute others in live streaming, but Instagram tells us it’s working to give broadcasters more of this kind of power and expects them to roll out soon.
Earlier this week during Instagram Live between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, it was reported that the new features were publicly tested. Instagram isn’t the first feature in recent weeks to lure the creator community to its platform instead of Clubhouse or other competitors. In March, Instagram introduced the option to host live rooms for creators that could broadcast up to four people at a time.
The houses were appealing to creators who wanted to host live talk shows, expanded Q&A, and more – all experiences that are often found in clubhouses. It has added the ability for fans to buy badges to support the host, to meet the needs of professional creators to monetize beyond their reach. Although Instagram parent company Facebook has already developed a more direct clubhouse with live audio rooms on Facebook and Messenger, the company says they don’t expect to launch for testing until this summer. And it will be available to groups and public figures, not the broader public at first.