Facebook is testing an app called Hotline that shares some of the functionality of the Clubhouse invite-only audio chat room app, but allows speakers or creators to appear on video as well as audio, TechCrunch reported. Hotline is run by Eric Hazzard, who created the ‘tbh’ app which was acquired by Facebook in 2017 and to close Not long after.
The first designer to try the product was real estate investor Nick Huber, who ran a session yesterday afternoon (April 7). As someone who markets to people interested in investing or personal / professional development, he’s apparently one of Facebook’s target creators.
Hotline looks like Flag, Twitter spaces and other audio-only chat room networks. To the left on PC and top on mobile is a speaker section showcasing the host of the event as a live video stream or an audio icon. On the right or below are the listeners of the event.
Anyone can participate as a listener simply by logging in with Twitter and verifying their identity via SMS. Audience members can choose to listen or ask questions, and can vote up or down from a list. The creator can use this list to choose the next question to answer, and can even pull the interrogator onto the stage to create a conversation. As it is, listeners entering the stage only appear in audio, but there is an option to choose a video that has not yet been activated.
Hosts have full control over each session and can delete listeners or questions. Facebook employees also moderate early events and will remove anyone who violates its terms of service, community standards, or other rules. Unlike Clubhouse, sessions are also recorded as audio and video files. Creators can then upload them to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or other networks.
The hotline may be more appealing to business users due to the fact that sessions are recorded and questions are asked in text form before being discussed. As it is, anyone in the United States can join a hotline and there is no current limit on the number of listeners.