This audio-only social app has Twitter on alert

For months, people have been clamoring to get access to Clubhouse, a buzzy invite-only social media app where members join virtual rooms to have live, unscri...

Posted: Jan 29, 2021 8:40 AM
Updated: Feb 1, 2021 12:50 PM

For months, people have been clamoring to get access to Clubhouse, a buzzy invite-only social media app where members join virtual rooms to have live, unscripted discussions. Topics range from the 'future of San Francisco,' with the city's district attorney participating, and Kanye West to startup pitch events and various off color conversations. Unlike other social networks, the platform is audio-based — not text — making it feel like an interactive podcast (or a conference call).

On any given night, according to a blog post this week from founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, there are thousands of different rooms that people can join for live conversations. 'Hosts' act as moderators of conversations and those in the room can raise their hands, virtually, to have their mic turned on to lend their voice. Participants include a who's-who list of venture capitalists, tech leaders and celebrities.

Davison and Seth, who are both well connected in the tech industry from previous roles at top companies, said their goal with Clubhouse 'was to build a social experience that felt more human — where instead of posting, you could gather with other people and talk.'

In the less than a year since it launched, Clubhouse has become a recognizable name in Silicon Valley, attracted 2 million users around the world, and is now reportedly worth $1 billion after an infusion of capital. The company now plans to 'scale ... as fast as we can and open it up to everyone soon,' according to the blog post this week.

But all the attention has also created potential headaches for the company. Twitter, a platform with a much larger audience, recently started experimenting with a new feature called 'Spaces,' which it describes as a live audio experience where multiple people can communicate and discuss or debate a topic. Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour previously said the company needs to 'support other formats' and the move is not Twitter saying 'here's an interesting startup doing something interesting, let's try to replicate it.'

Clubhouse has also faced questions about whether it is equipped to handle moderating harmful speech and abuse on its platform, especially as it scales. Some members and critics have publicly shared examples of antisemitism, misinformation and harassment on the platform.

The audio-only format brings fresh challenges when it comes to content moderation, something that its much larger social media peers continue to struggle with when it comes to text, videos and images. CNN Business has previously reported on the issues facing podcast moderation, given that voice is not cataloged by the internet the same way as text; the live element of Clubhouse makes this all the more challenging.

'There are all these kinds of nuances of language that exist in text, but in real-time audio are even more fleeting and difficult to wrap one's hands around,' said Sarah Roberts, an assistant professor at UCLA and content moderation expert. 'By the time any moderation might be applied, the damage could essentially already have been done.'

In a blog post last October, Clubhouse said in recent months it had added safety features, including blocking, muting, in-room reporting and a way for moderators to close a room. In November, it said it introduced 'temporary and encrypted audio recording, solely for Trust & Safety purposes.' The company said 'if no incident is reported in a room, we delete the temporary audio recording when the room ends.' Clubhouse's terms of service prohibit the recording of conversation without express written permission of all speakers involved.

With the new funding, the company said it plans to scale its Trust & Safety team, listing two new job postings devoted to the topic.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for the next few days. This will keep our area on the dry side and on the unseasonably warm side for this time of the year. We will see most high temperatures well into the 70s over the next few afternoons.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather