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Facebook is testing a new social Q&A app called Hotline.
On 7 April, TechCrunch reported that the app had entered public beta testing.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
The app is similar to the social audio app Clubhouse, though with a few differences and a focus towards business-type experiences.
How does Hotline work?
Hotline is the work of Facebook’s internal research and development NPE team. It is led by Eric Hazzard, a developer whose app, a Q&A platform called tbh, was bought by Facebook in 2017.
It is Facebook’s answer to a surge in popularity for social audio apps. The competition includes Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces.
However, a major difference with Hotline is that the app allows users to be on camera.
Users can engage with audiences via video, audio, or text messaging. There are separated speaker and audience sections, and audiences are split into those just listening and those who want to ask the speaker questions.
If any inappropriate questions are asked, speakers have the power to remove them.
Hosts can then invite audience members to speak. Audiences can also post reactions throughout the session using emojis and upvote questions they like.
Currently, Hotline requires users to sign in with their Twitter account details and then verify themselves via SMS. The app also automatically records the sessions regardless if they are in video or audio format. The recordings save as MP3 and MP4 files.
Facebook is also testing another Clubhouse rival for its Messenger platform.
It’s not yet known when Hotline will be officially launched.
Feature image: Facebook