Instagram tries to take on Clubhouse with audio-only livestreams

Instagram announced it’s adding new features that will allow users to mute their microphones and even turn their video off while using Instagram Live.

Instagram has introduced a new feature inside of Instagram Live that allows you to turn off your phone’s camera when broadcasting. It’s also adding the option to mute your audio during a session. The former is a small but meaningful addition that sees Facebook replicating functionality from Clubhouse in yet another one of its apps.

Instagram explains these new features will give hosts more flexibility during their livestream experiences, as they can decrease the pressure to look or sound a certain way while broadcasting live. While that may be true, the reality is that Facebook is simply taking another page from Clubhouse’s playbook by enabling a “video off” experience that encourages more serendipitous conversations.

Facebook has a long history of copying features from competing apps, with several of the most notable examples living inside of Instagram. Stories, for instance, saw the company replicate most of what made Snapchat unique after Snap rejected its $3 billion buyout bid. You also don’t have to look far to find where Facebook got the idea for Instagram Reels. Of course, the company is far from the only platform to take a page from Clubhouse. We’ve seen companies like Twitter, Reddit and even Discord do the same.

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