It’s like the radio, but on Facebook.
Facebook spent the past year pushing publishers and famous people to use its social network to broadcast live video. Now it has another idea: Live audio, or what sounds suspiciously like traditional radio or podcasting, in your News Feed.
Facebook on Tuesday announced “Live Audio,” a new option within its live video plugin to broadcast audio directly to the social network. “We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video,” reads Facebook’s blog post explaining the news.
Facebook is also touting live audio as an alternative to publishers trying to broadcast videos from areas with poor internet connectivity.
A publisher could already broadcast live audio if they wanted to, but it required some creativity (essentially pointing the camera at a still image while providing voiceover). But now live audio is its own option, which means you could see radio-style programming start to crop up on the service.
It’s also interesting for those producing podcasts (including Recode). The podcast industry is growing, but it doesn’t have the same virality that videos and news stories do. Facebook might be able to change that, though, and if it decides to push live audio in its News Feed algorithm, it could be great news for podcasters.
For now, Facebook is testing this feature with a few select partners, including BBC and Harper Collins. Facebook says it will make live audio more widely available “early next year.”
We don’t know yet whether or not Facebook is paying partners to use live audio in the same way it paid publishers to use Facebook Live video at launch. We’ve asked the company and will update when we hear back.