It feels like we have only just heard about Clubhouse, the invitation-only audio-chat social networking app, which was launched last year. Yet it will come as no surprise to hear that Facebook is reportedly in the process of developing its very own Clubhouse clone.
Clubhouse has become one of the most popular apps lately and has seen a rise in its user base after the likes of Elon Musk tweeted about it and even joined a session. According to SensorTower, which tracks mobile app analytics, Clubhouse has been installed an estimated 5.5 million times.
Although Facebook already has Rooms – the video equivalent – logically, Facebook would look at developing something similar to Clubhouse, given the extreme interest in it since its launch. And if any entity, has the means to clone an app and improve on it and quash all competition, it’s Facebook. There is also no doubt that Facebook won’t be the last copycat.
Apparently, just five days ago, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined Clubhouse for the first time, and he clearly liked what he saw given that he is already getting his internal team to research audio-related chat products – in other words, copying.
A spokesperson for the tech giant relayed that Facebook has always connected people through audio and video technologies and therefore are always looking at new ways to improve experiences for their users.
Facebook has not been shy in the past about getting the best features from other social apps. For example, it removed Snapchat’s Story feature and added it to Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. In 2016, it copied Periscope, which is now also integrated into the primary Facebook app. And don’t forget Facebook’s TikTok knockoff, Instagram Reels.
The ultimate goal for Facebook is to keep its users on the platform as long as possible. The more time you spend on the platforms, be it Facebook or Instagram, the more opportunities the brand has to show you ads. The more ads you see, the more money Facebook makes.
Therefore, any other apps that cause users to spend less time on Facebook is a threat. And the historically, the tactic used to combat any threats is to copy ideas and features and improve on them.
Unfortunately for Clubhouse, with this latest development, it stands to lose its rapid growth in its active users as it will be used by Facebook as a teaser for their new clone. And let’s face it, Clubhouse will never be a competitor to Facebook, as the app doesn’t sell ads and, at this point, isn’t monetised at all.
So at a time when society is feeling isolated and craving human interaction, when – not if – Facebook launches a bigger and better version of Clubhouse, all other competitors will fall by the wayside.
We, at Image Matters are waiting with bated breath to see what unfolds and what Facebook develops in the coming months.