Facebook app to lunch an audio feature

Facebook app to lunch an audio feature
Fidji Simo, head of Facebook app.

The head of Facebook app, Fidji Simo, told CNBC that the social media giant has been working on audio for years as it prepares to launch its Clubhouse rival.

Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company is building a product where users can engage in real-time conversations with others like they can on Clubhouse.

Asked if Facebook app looked at the success of Clubhouse before announcing its rival product, Simo told CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa: “Audio has been on our mind for a very long time.”

Simo went on to say that the technologies used to power Facebook’s Clubhouse rival, known as Live Audio Rooms, have been in development for many years.

“The artificial intelligence that’s required to bring these magical audio creation tools that can make you sound like you’re next to a beach or near a river, or can change your voice to sound like an alien, all of that are technologies that we’ve been building for a very long time,” she said. Another example is spatial audio, she said, adding that Facebook users will soon be able to “place people around the room so that when you listen to the content … you’re in the room with them.”

“All of these technologies take a very long time to build and it’s something we’ve been working on obviously for many years,” said Simo. “In addition to that, I’ll say that all the investments in video over the last … five to six years, have really informed what we do with audio now. We see audio as being very complimentary to all the formats we already offer.”