Instagram is seemingly working on a new feature dubbed Audio Rooms, inspired by the popular audio-based chat application Clubhouse. The feature appears to be in the early stages of development and it was spotted by tipster Alessandro Paluzzi. The latest development comes nearly a month after a report suggested that Facebook is working on its own version of the Clubhouse. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg had also appeared on Clubhouse last month, where he participated in a chat about the future of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR). Additionally, Paluzzi claims that Instagram is also planning to bring end-to-end encryption for Instagram DMs (direct messages).
The tipster has also posted two screenshots on Twitter where we can notice a new microphone icon within the Instagram DM section. The second screenshot shows a “Loading" message next to the user profile at the bottom of the screen that indicates the initialising of the audio chat room. The mic icon is also there, presumably to mute and unmute yourself and exit the Audio Room. If the development is accurate, Facebook will hope to gain prominence in a new avenue after disrupting the short video segment with Instagram Reels, previously dominated by TikTok.
In another post on Twitter, Paluzzi claims that Instagram is also working on E2EE for DMs. It essentially encrypts messages from the sender and decrypts them to the receiver, to avoid snooping in between. The encryption feature is already available on another Facebook-owned platform WhatsApp.
Meanwhile, Instagram recently launched a new Live Rooms feature that allows four people to video chat in a live broadcast. Previously, the social media platform allowed only two people to be a part of a broadcast. Instagram said that the new feature would encourage users to start a “talk show or a podcast," host a “jam session," or collaborate with other creators. Going live with more people means that Live Rooms will attract a larger audience as followers of everyone participating will get a notification, depending on their settings.