Twitter to Launch Chat Alternative to Clubhouse Next Month

Twitter will debut Spaces, a rival to audio-chat app Clubhouse, in April according to a tweet in a public Twitter Space audio room by host Alex (@akkhosh). Twitter will also soon allow anyone to host a Twitter Spaces room. Twitter Spaces was released in beta on the Android platform late in 2020. The product will roll out for Android and iOS; Twitter is also considering support for using music and allowing tweeting in Spaces. In addition, Twitter is working on a Spaces “Tip Jar” to let users donate to content creators with donations.

TechCrunch reports that, at rival Clubhouse, “users are still regularly reporting dealing with verbal abuse and bad actors who are looking to take advantage of the platform as a place to hustle or scam people.” One beta tester for Twitter Spaces “talked about how their recent Twitter Space was hijacked by a fan group [that] attempted to take over the discussion.”

Earlier in developing Spaces, Twitter stated it would ensure that first testers would be “women and those from marginalized backgrounds … [who] are disproportionately impacted by abuse and harm on the platform.” But, as the debut approaches, Twitter has said little on “anti-abuse measures or policies.”

TechCrunch notes that Twitter executives and product leaders have been mum on why it’s building tools like Stories’ feature Fleets and Spaces, which is “to encourage conversations from those who are too afraid to tweet … [because] Twitter has not yet successfully made its platform a place where users aren’t trolled, abused, or attacked.”

9to5Mac reports that, “Twitter is developing a ‘Tip Jar’ feature to let Spaces users support content creators with donations.” The Tip Jar, found within live Spaces, can be integrated with “popular payment services like Bandcamp, Patreon, Venmo, and Cash App.”

Twitter also recently “revealed its plans for a paid subscription service called ‘Super Follow,’ which will allow users to get exclusive content from other users by paying $4.99 per month,” although it didn’t specify a rollout date. Both Tip Jar and Super Follow will, it says, “make the social network even more interesting for creators.”

Mashable reports on the “crucial difference” between rivals Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces: the way they record audio conversations. It notes that, “Twitter has stated that it will store copies of all conversations on Twitter Spaces … for at least 30 days in order to check for platform violations.” Further, if it finds a violation, Twitter will “hold copies of a conversation for up to 90 days in order to provide time for a user-requested appeals process.”

In contrast, Clubhouse “automatically deletes its recordings when the room ends unless a user reports a violation of the apps’ Trust and Safety measures during the chat.” In that case, Clubhouse holds onto the data “until the investigation is complete.”

The Buzzy, Chatty, Out-of-Control Rise of Clubhouse, Wired, 3/17/21