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Facebook abandons podcasts to keep chasing TikTok

Facebook jumped into the podcasting trend only to jump right back out, after only less than a year in service.

According to Bloomberg, the social media platform is expected to end its support for podcasts this summer. Facebook is removing the ability to add podcasts beginning this week and then getting rid of them entirely starting on June 3 — all without giving users an explicit heads-up.

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The cessation of the podcast platform also includes changes to other Facebook audio services including:

  • Both the Soundbites (a short-form audio sharing service) and the platform’s audio hub will be discontinued as well. An end date for these service has not been released but a spokesperson from Meta told Bloomberg via email that it would happen “in the coming weeks.”
  • The Live Audio Rooms feature won’t necessarily go away: It’s expected to be incorporated into Facebook Live, so that “users can choose to go live with just audio or audio and video.”

That said, these changes appear to be part of Meta’s new focus on short-form videos, particularly on competing with TikTok with its own offering, Reels. Reels is available on both Instagram and Facebook, though Instagram had it first. Instagram launched Reels in 2020 and Facebook followed up with its own version a year later.

And recently, Instagram announced a push for more original content, with new features to better support creators and encourage the creation of more original content (rather than its users just reposting videos from a certain short-form video competitor).

Meta appears to be doubling down on short-form content and this current pivot away from podcasting seems to be a part of that trend.

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