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Facebook tests Hotline, to compete with invite-only audio chat app Clubhouse

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As invite-only audio chat app Clubhouse becomes the hot property in the Silicon Valley, Facebook has launched another experiment called Hotline that is a mashup of Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

The feature under test allows creators to speak to an audience who can then ask questions through either text or audio, reports Tech Crunch.

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“However, unlike Clubhouse, creators can opt to turn their cameras on for the event, instead of being audio-only,” the report said on Tuesday.

At present, users can type in their questions, then join the host “on stage,” when it’s their turn.

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The guests are represented by their profile icon and are audio-only when on stage.

“But in the settings, there’s an option for the listener to toggle on video that’s not yet functional for today’s test,” the report noted.

As the questions are asked, users can react with emoji including clapping hands, fire, heart, laughter, surprise and thumbs up.

Another difference between Hotline and Clubhouse is that Hotline events are recorded.

“Despite the similarities with Clubhouse, Hotline has a different look and feel because of its use of video, text-based questions, upvoting and because it’s recorded”.

Alarmed at the growing popularity of Clubhouse, several tech giants are working on a rival app and Twitter has started testing ‘Spaces’ on Android.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is working on a similar app for over 740 million members in more than 200 countries.

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