Facebook has been developing its competitor to the popular Clubhouse app that’s sweeping the iPhone community. Today’s public test “launch” of Hotline is a little something like that, Facebook’s experimental NPE division. The web app has many of the fixings of a Clubhouse competitor, but with a little extra flare – or fire – thrown in.
Hotline is a web application that lets users host Q&A sessions with an audience. Similar to how you use Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse, it can be an audio-only session, and unlike those platforms, the host can also choose to live stream the session with video. Another way it differs is that the audience is divided into two sections; those just listening and those asking questions. Questions are typed in for the host to sift through and answer, and questions can be upvoted or downvoted by other audience members. Once a question is chosen, the person asking is put “on stage” and can orally present their question while others can react.
According to a Facebook spokesperson (via TechCrunch), the experience is targeting a more professional environment compared to the casual nature of other platforms like Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces:
With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses. New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community.
Users can sign up using their Twitter accounts, although, at the moment, the site has only a waitlist to join and a link to host your own session. Sessions are also saved, and the host will have access to video or audio versions after a session has ended.
Apparently, this is just one of the Clubhouse competitors that Facebook is working on, and the one that the company has been talking up is still in development for Messenger Rooms. Still, it’s nice that more platforms are jumping on the bandwagon since the iOS-only Clubhouse still hasn’t released an app experience for the best Android phones.