Twitter to introduce Clubhouse-like voice chat rooms in testing later this year

Twitter plans to take on Clubhouse, the invite-only social platform where users congregate in voice chat rooms, with a way for people to create “spaces” for voice-based conversations right on Twitter. In theory, these spaces could provide another avenue for users to have conversations on the platform — but without harassment and abuse from trolls or bad actors, thanks to tools that let creators of these spaces better control the conversation.

The company plans to start testing the feature this year, but notably, Twitter will be giving first access to some of the people who are most affected by abuse and harassment on the platform: women and people from marginalized backgrounds, the company says.

In one of these conversation spaces, you’ll be able to see who is a part of the room and who is talking at any given time. The person who makes the space will have moderation controls and can determine who can actually participate, too. Twitter says it will experiment with how these spaces are discovered on the platform, including ways to invite participants via direct messages or right from a public tweet.

Here’s an image of what one might look like:

Here’s what the new “spaces” feature looks like. Image: Twitter

Rival Clubhouse has already earned a reputation for being something of a watering hole for Silicon Valley venture capitalists, and the app has run into challenges with content moderation and hosting sometimes-controversial conversations, including criticisms of journalists. It remains to be seen if Twitter’s version can avoid those same challenges, but these initial moderation tools the company is building into the feature — plus the early focus on users who may need these moderated spaces the most — look like a step in the right direction.

Twitter also announced Tuesday that Fleets, its take on the ephemeral stories format, is now rolling out globally on iOS and Android.

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