Possibly in an attempt to encourage people to post more frequently, Facebook is reportedly testing a new type of status update: voice clips.
Because recordings are far more personal than plain text and less cumbersome to make than video, it's a natural fit for the social network, which aims to allow people to make more meaningful connections.
The company is administering the test among a small percentage of users in India. Discovered initially by Twitter user Abhishek Saxena, Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it is indeed a new feature.
"We are always working to help people share and connect with their friends and family on Facebook in ways that are authentic to them," according to a spokesperson. "Voice Clips gives people a new medium through which to express themselves."
Facebook Wants You To Post Voice Clips
Facebook has long been pushing users to post more personal and intimate status updates instead of generic links or news items that people may find in other social media avenues. As mid-2015, the percentage of people posting original content went down 21 percent compared with the previous year and diminished 15 percent further as of mid-2016, according to The Information.
Exactly how voice clips will help increase that remains uncertain, but Facebook is pulling out all stops to avoid the site from becoming a dull avenue full of fake news, shallow feature articles, and mindless videos. Its recent efforts prove so, with the company deciding to prioritize friends' posts more than content from publishers and brands and adding Facebook Stories into the site.
Voice clips could help bolster the intimacy of posts, but it's hard to predict whether it'll be successful given the short attention spans of people. There's the risk of people skipping recordings entirely if they're too long. Some users might not even bother listening at all.
How To Share Voice Clips On Facebook
Posting a voice clip is simple. Simply choose "Add Voice Clip" from the status update composer menu. Users will see a waveform visualization as they record and are allowed to talk for as long, as they like as Facebook apparently doesn't have a set limit. Users can listen to the recording before posting it, but they can't edit it. In the news feed, a voice recording is treated as a video, meaning if the app is closed, it stops playing as well.
It remains uncertain whether Facebook plans on rolling this out to other countries or if it ends up releasing it at all. Just recently, Facebook shut down an experiment where it put posts form publishers and brands in a separate "Explore" feed, so it's no stranger to canceling in-development improvements.