Skip to main content

Twitter tests Spaces, an audio-only chatroom

Twitter has revealed more details about its experimental “Spaces” feature that lets users jump into audio-only chatrooms.

Compared widely to the Clubhouse app that launched earlier this year, Spaces lets you discuss your thoughts and opinions with followers using speech instead of text. Testing has just started with “a very small” feedback group, the company said on Thursday, December 17.

Of course, for a platform known to have issues with abuse and harassment, many folks may choose to give Spaces a wide berth, concerned that it’ll be full of angry folks shouting at each other.

But Twitter believes the very nature of Spaces could actually diffuse some of the fury that permeates the platform and encourage people to engage in a more respectful manner.

“The human voice can bring a layer of connectivity to Twitter through emotion, nuance, and empathy often lost in text,” the company said in one of a flurry of tweets this week. “We see this with voice tweets and voice DMs. Sometimes 280 isn’t enough, and voice gives people another way to join the conversation.”

The feature lets anyone create a Space for their followers and others to join. The person who creates the Space has full control over who can and cannot speak in the chatroom, which should prevent a session becoming too chaotic if lots of people are in attendance.

Twitter says it imagines “the best Spaces to feel like a well-hosted dinner party … you don’t need to know everyone to have a great time, but everyone feels comfortable at the table. We wanted Spaces to have that magic feeling, too.”

During the test phase, Spaces will try out reactions similar to hand gestures, and also live transcriptions so that it’s easier to follow conversations.

Should a “dinner party” get out of hand and descend into a quarrel, the host will also be able to block and report anyone in the virtual room. Sharing tweets within Spaces may also be possible.

The addition of Spaces would be a big change for Twitter, though it’s been edging in that direction since it started testing voice tweets and direct messages earlier this year.

As ever with such tests, there’s no guarantee that Spaces will become a permanent part of Twitter. But if the trial runs smoothly and the feature shows promise, expect to see it launch sometime next year.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Twitter testing new Communities feature that makes it far more useful
A stylized composite of the Twitter logo.

Twitter currently lets you customize your main timeline by letting you choose between viewing others' tweets in your feed chronologically (Latest Tweets) or the Home view (an algorithm-driven selection of tweets based on what Twitter thinks will be relevant to you).

This week, Twitter has announced that it is testing similar viewing options for timelines in the Twitter Communities you've joined.

Read more
Twitter is testing closed captioning button for videos

When you come across a video on your Twitter feed, you may notice that captions are automatically on when the audio is muted, then disappear when you click on it and the volume is unmuted. Thankfully, Twitter is fixing that issue, as it has announced that it is testing a closed captioning (CC) button for videos.

The social media company's support team said that the CC button is already available for some iOS users, and that it will come to Android soon. It's testing the new feature for videos that already have captions available in the first place, giving users the option to turn them off or on. In the demonstration GIF below, the CC button appears on the top-right corner of the video when you pause it, cueing you to toggle it if you so choose.

Read more
NASA scrubs Space Launch System test due to fan issue
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher.

NASA has had to scrub the wet dress rehearsal of its mega moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). The test, which had been planned to run this weekend and involves filling the rocket with fuel and counting down as if for a launch, was called off on Sunday, April 3.

"Teams have decided to scrub tanking operations for the wet dress rehearsal due to loss of ability to pressurize the mobile launcher," NASA wrote in a brief update. "The fans are needed to provide positive pressure to the enclosed areas within the mobile launcher and keep out hazardous gases. Technicians are unable to safely proceed with loading the propellants into the rocket’s core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage without this capability."

Read more