Instagram takes on Clubhouse with Live Rooms

Hannah Boland
·2 min read
Instagram live
Instagram live

Instagram has become the latest social media app to broaden out its chat features in a move to take on audio start-up Clubhouse.

The photo-sharing app said it was launching Live Rooms, a new tool that would allow people to broadcast with up to three other people, having previously only allowed them to stream alongside one other person.

Instagram said the feature would mean people would be able to use its app to create podcasts or host "jam sessions".

It comes after audio-only social network Clubhouse experienced a boom in popularity in recent weeks. The invite-only app works by allowing users the chance to listen into podcast-like discussions, and has become popular with well-known figures such as Elon Musk, as well as celebrities such as Drake and Jared Leto.

The Telegraph revealed last month that MPs including Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Tugendhat had begun signing up for the social network.

The spike in demand has prompted rival social media networks to look at integrating the features into their own systems, and late last month Twitter launched its new live-audio feature Spaces.

More so than other social media companies, Facebook has a reputation for integrating new features into its apps, which include Instagram and WhatsApp, to tackle competition from new entrants. It launched "Reels" on Instagram last year, for example, in response to the growing uptake of viral video app TikTok.

The New York Times reported last month that Facebook had started to build a new audio chat app after boss Mark Zuckerberg became interested in Clubhouse. He appeared on the app in a discussion about augmented and virtual reality.

Facebook had responded by saying it had been "connecting people through audio and video technologies for many years and are always exploring new ways to improve that experience for people".