Facebook to Shut Down Podcast Services After Just One Year

May 12, 2022
4 min read

For almost a decade, Facebook has been one of the most popular social networking sites, with over 2.93 billion active members globally. Facebook's services have changed dramatically since Mark Zuckerberg's concept of the metaverse gave birth to Meta Platforms Inc.

In April 2021, Facebook decided to provide podcast services on its platform. According to Bloomberg, Facebook has chosen to shut down its podcast services ten months after they began, after June 3rd, 2022. It's also closing down its 'Soundbites' and 'Audio Hubs' short-form experiences.

According to some reports, this move was made because this meta-owned corporation is re-evaluating its audio products in this fast-changing technological environment. It involves simplifying its audio offerings and concentrating on the most important experiences.

"We've opted to simplify our suite of audio capabilities on Facebook after a year of learning and iterating on audio-first experiences," a Facebook spokeswoman said in the report.

The social network had also initially decided to include its Live Audio Rooms function into its larger Facebook Live suite. But, after dabbling in audio features and podcasting, Facebook is abandoning its podcasting efforts to collaborate with its podcast partners on other projects.

Facebook is now concentrating on additional potential with podcast partners, such as e-commerce and metaverse events. Due to increased competition from Tik Tok, a popular short-form video app, Facebook's parent corporation Meta is also rumoured to be prioritizing short-video projects above other ventures.

What Led Facebook to Introduce Podcasts in the First Place?

Following Clubhouse's spectacular ascent in early 2021, Facebook originally showcased these choices in April 2021 as part of a bigger push on social audio.

The Popularity of Clubhouse Forced Facebook to Introduce Podcasts:

The Clubhouse is an audio-enabled social media platform. It was a novel voice-based social platform that allowed users to communicate, engage, and share their tales. It allowed individuals to experiment with new ideas, improve connections, and meet new people from all over the world. The Clubhouse offered flexible services that let users jump in and out of many talks on various topics, somewhat like a live free-flowing podcast.

Following the debut of its Android app in May 2021, Clubhouse began to get more and more fans, reporting an extra 10 million followers. It also began to gain traction in India, where Android is by far the most popular operating system.

This forced Facebook to start its podcast services to stay relevant in the market. Meta advertised a number of new podcast features, including on-page display tools and direct connection options that would allow Facebook users to listen to podcasts without having to leave the app. In June, Meta formally debuted its podcast support tools with a variety of launch partners.

The feature was advertised as a method to show off your podcast content to Meta's billions of users and connect with followers via the app, all while growing your audience. But now, less than a year later, it's shutting down completely, leaving any creators who used these tools to grow their audience in the cold.

As it is observed, Meta has a cold history of pulling the rug out from under artists and brands, whether through restricted Page reach, an ever-changing emphasis on video, or forcing creators to adopt Stories, to name a few examples. It is only wise to say that it can never be trusted to be consistent in any of its services.

The Repercussions of Removing the Audio Services Might Result in a Loss of Faith in the Platform

Meta did not keep its interest in the podcast services for long, so it is likely that the creators who built a community for all these months might have a solid audience on other social media networks like Spotify or Amazon. It can come as a great lesson to artists who decide to focus their entire community-building efforts on one social media platform, as it is essentially a "rented land", as said by social media today.

Because Meta has the ability to modify the system's rules whenever it wants, it is only smart not to put the entire effort there. The basic conclusion is that if you rely on its applications to assist your community-building efforts, you should anticipate it to shift emphasis at some point, leaving you in the lurch.

What Could Be the Reason Behind This Change of Focus?

During the epidemic, social media gimmicks were used all over the world. This resulted in substantial revenue growth for Facebook in 2021, allowing it to accelerate some of its longer-term investments, including in AI infrastructure, business platforms, and Reality Labs.

But by the end of 2021, everything started opening up again, and the usage of social media reduced to a vast extent. This led the meta-owned company to slow the pace of its investment. With expenditures growing as it looks to the metaverse, Meta is re-evaluating its numerous investments and narrowing its emphasis in order to keep spending under control and income flowing. And it's widely assumed that audio isn't as big a concern as some predicted earlier this year.

Some audio parts are still doing well, and Clubhouse might be on its way to carving out a commercial niche. However, Meta apparently did not perceive much interest or value in this on Facebook, which is why it is now reversing course.

Bottom Line: Does Meta always look for the new shiny object in the market?

It's only reasonable to state that Facebook has established and removed many services based on its desires. The demise of podcast services may evoke memories for corporate users who have made numerous strategic shifts at Zuck and Co.'s whim, only to be met with lower reach and engagement as the corporation shifts its focus to the next bright item on the horizon, which it can utilize to pull in more people.

The worst thing is that Meta has no plans to notify users of the pull-out, leaving it up to the publishers instead, whereas Live Audio Rooms will be incorporated into Facebook Live, offering users the choice of going live with just audio or audio plus video.