Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the United States to keep users engaged on its platform and compete with its emerging competitors.

Facebook says it allows public figures with verified accounts to set up live audio rooms and invite anyone else to speak. A handful of podcasts will be available to people in the US initially and the company plans to add more in the future.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has appeared on the Clubhouse video streaming app in the past, hosted his own live audio room on his Facebook page last week.

“Live audio rooms and podcasts deployed in the United States are just the start of our audio journey,” Fiji Simo, Facebook app manager, wrote in a blog post. “For the future, we are working with creators who will use our audio tools to develop and launch Soundbites – creative short audio clips.”

But podcasts and live audio have also been an outlet for racism, disinformation, and extremist material. Live audio is particularly difficult to moderate, compared to traditional social media posts.

Facebook, which announced plans to integrate audio feeds in April, said its rules apply to live audio and podcasts and anyone can report offending material.

“In addition, our broader work on integrity and security and the tools we have created to proactively and automatically identify harmful content are great building blocks, but we plan to adapt the technology and processes. as we learn more, “the company said in a prepared statement.

The company says it can also keep live audio after it is no longer live to enforce its policies, which will be done by both human moderators and machine learning.