Facebook is shutting down its podcasts offering in June. The feature is less than a year old and marks a shifting focus for the embattled social media company.
Parent company Meta confirmed to Bloomberg that it will wind down its podcasting unit in June. Soundbites and its general audio hub will also get the ax, per the report. Live Audio Rooms will be folded into the Facebook Live offering.
According to Meta, this move is to help the company “focus on the most meaningful experiences.” Facebook Podcasts launched as an attempt to rival Spotify’s growing relevance in the space. As Spotify has flourished with new podcasts, growing from one million to four million in just a year – Facebook has languished.
Meta currently has its sights set on conquering the AR and VR spaces and creating a metaverse. Facebook Podcasts don’t fit into that vision, so it’s shutting down.
Facebook was a new competitor to the realm of sound-only social networking. Podcasts are well established on services like Apple and Spotify. But Facebook also tried to mimic Clubhouse’s success in 2021 with a similar live audio rooms offering for Facebook users. But going up against rivals like Spotify’s Greenroom (now Spotify Live) and Twitter Spaces meant Facebook was facing an uphill battle.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees web3 and the concept of a metaverse as the next digital frontier. Facebook wants to give users a digital place to gather where they can buy digital goods with real money – think Fortnite but beyond just a game. The company’s focus on developing newer, low-cost VR goggles for the masses is just one part of this vision.
Current Facebook employees have described the strategy as “lacking coherent vision.” Speaking with Business Insider, Facebook employees have said the metaverse is the only thing they can get their boss to talk about. According to them, Facebook is tailoring all of its messaging around its version of the metaverse and even “spinning up teams that are metaverse specific.”
“It’s basically fomenting disorganization and anxiety,” one employee described the situation. “People don’t really seem to know what to deliver or what to work on because there is no coherent strategy.”