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What's Clubhouse and how does it work

The new audio-based social media app

What's Clubhouse and how does it work The new audio-based social media app

The nightmare of all those who hate voice messages - of any length and subject - has just become real. In fact, a new messaging app consisting exclusively of voice messages has recently arrived in Italy, the only type of communication that can be implemented on the platform. At the moment Clubhouse is available in Italy only for iOs devices and still in beta version, but the social network claims to already have 2 million users worldwide. The app was launched in April 2020 by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, thanks to a $12 million funding from a venture capital firm, which invested another $100 million in the project a few weeks ago. 

For the moment, access to the app is only possible through an invitation from another user, a modality that wants to build the fame of exclusivity around the app and give life to a solid community that grows organically, explained the founders of the app. This access mode was one of the reasons for the success of the app at its launch, especially among Silicon Valley tech industry workers, the first and most enthusiastic Clubhouse users. With the expansion of the app, however, Davison and Seth plan to change the access methods in the long run, also trying to attract influencers and highly followed personalities on other social media to the platform. 

In any case, Clubhouse was created with the intention of offering a different messaging experience, more oriented towards real conversation, a place where to exchange ideas, thoughts and stories without the aid of text or images. Once logged in, the user finds himself in front of several rooms, which are the different chats he can take part in. Based on the contacts and interests expressed, it's the Clubhouse algorithm itself that pushes the user to the rooms most similar to his tastes and passions. Within each room, it's possible to both take part in the conversation and listen only to the other members present, but none of the messages sent on the app can be recorded, saved or shared

One of the main reasons for the app's appeal is the presence of celebs of the calibre of Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Chris Rock, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Hart, who not only take part in the conversations but who are often the hosts of several chats. Beyond the presence of big names, the app is promoted as a great way to network, to meet new people for both business and personal purposes, an advantage not to be underestimated in times of social distancing. 

Despite the good premises and the precautions taken in terms of privacy, as reported by various newspapers and numerous Twitter users, one of the most discussed aspects of Clubhouse is the total lack of content moderation. In fact, there's no type of control, and limit, imposed on the content of the chats, a decision that if on the one hand ensures that privacy and that safe space that many users seek, on the other hand, it leaves room for the proliferation of racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic chats, not condemning any kind of hate speech, abuse or online aggression. Although the founders of the app have ensured that they're implementing this aspect, never as in this historical moment, in which the debate on the role of social media and on to what extent some sort of control and censorship should be applied has never been more popular, a response of this type appears to be tone-deaf.