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Facebook throws more spaghetti at the wall

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A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Facebook (FB.O) is joining the audio wars – with a cover version. Mark Zuckerberg’s company on Monday launched Live Audio Rooms, its version of real-time conversations app Clubhouse read more . It’s a bit like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks, but with online advertising set to rise by 22% year-over-year in 2021, according to GroupM, the $935 billion social network has nothing to lose.

Clubhouse has attracted multiple clones, even as its own star fades. The previous Silicon Valley darling that capitalized on exclusive chats with the likes of singer Drake saw downloads fall below 1 million in April, a nearly 90% decline since its February peak, according to Sensor Tower. Twitter (TWTR.N) and Microsoft-owned (MSFT.O) LinkedIn have also started wannabes.

For Facebook, grabbing users by the ear is another way to attract ad spend from corporate marketers read more . Its ad revenue jumped 46% in the first quarter, year-on-year. Last week it began globally putting ads on Instagram Reels, its homage to video service TikTok. If Live Audio Rooms flops, Facebook investors will barely notice. Clubhouse’s backers can’t say the same. (By Gina Chon)

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