Meta lays back the final elements of its social audio push

Then the last remnants of Meta’s social audio push will be swept away, with group audio channels set to be removed as an option after this month.

As you can see in this notification shared by Radu Onescu, Meta is now alerting group users that audio channels are disappearing as members can no longer create new audio channels in groups starting this week.

It’s essentially the last remaining element of Meta’s social foray into audio, given prominence after Clubhouse’s meteoric rise in early 2021. In April of that year, Meta announced a suite of social audio features, including audio-only rooms, new support features for podcasts, and “soundbites” that allowed users to create short audio clips with a variety of effects.

Meta has since canceled all of these projects. This reflects in large part the declining popularity of audio-only interaction options, with Clubhouse’s popularity continuing to bottom out and other social audio options in other apps either being shelved or deprioritized.

But it’s also part of Meta’s broader cost-cutting drive, which has seen it turn away from a number of projects to refine its focus and cut costs.

In fact, this week Meta announced a new round of job cuts that will eliminate 10,000 jobs from the organization. That’s on top of the 11,000 jobs Meta already cut last November, and with so many people being transferred, it’s inevitable that some projects will also be eliminated as part of the broader reorganization.

Looking back, it’s now clear that the sudden rise of Audio Social was a pandemic-related fad, offering people another way to make that much-needed human connection in a less intrusive and in many ways more intimate form.

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That’s not to say it’s completely gone – Clubhouse still has a dedicated user base, and there are a few communities that have reaped great value from these audio meeting elements. But as a general option with broad appeal, the demand just isn’t there, which is why most apps are now going ahead and lowering the cost of supporting live audio elements.

Especially for Meta, this has been a long time coming. Most of these tools were discontinued in May of last year, and audio channels in groups almost made it to another birthday. But now it’s time to remove another element from your interactions within Facebook groups.

That really leaves Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse as the final pieces of what was once seen as the next billion dollar opportunity. For now, it looks like both are staying – but then again, Clubhouse could run out of money, and who knows what’s next for Twitter 2.0.

It’s interesting to see how quickly the tide can change and how quickly these huge trends can rise and fall. It’s another reminder to make sure you don’t give any channel too much importance – while remembering that trends are just that until they stand the appropriate test of time.