In March 2020, Clubhouse was introduced to the iOS platforms by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth of Alpha Exploration Co. In May 2021, this powerful app was extended for Android users, and according to numbers from app analytics firm Sensor Tower, it has crossed 2.6 million downloads already, that’s huge!
How did this app originate?
In 2019, Clubhouse began as a social media start-up by founders Davison and Seth. The app was originally designed for podcasts under the name ‘Talkshow’. The app was rebranded as “Clubhouse” and officially released for the iOS platform in March 2020. The app gained extreme popularity in the early months of the pandemic and had 600,000 registered users by December 2020 itself. The app became even more popular when celebrities such as Elon Musk and the King of Social Media Mark Zuckerberg made appearances. The app has fetched the number one position in the app market in India.
What are the features of this application?
The main feature of Clubhouse is virtual “rooms” users can communicate with each other via audio. Rooms are categorized based on differing levels of privacy. “Open rooms” can be joined by anyone on Clubhouse, and all rooms default to this setting on creation. Then comes the “social rooms” where only users followed by moderators are allowed to join. Within a room, there are three sections: the “stage,” followed by “the speakers” and “others in the room.”
Clubhouse has been criticized for its handling of certain rooms and groups which were known to be indulging in antisemitism, racism, hate speech, etc. In April, it announced that it was shutting down these rooms and also suspended some users, and removed some permanently.
The co-founder assured that the company has adopted a three-tiered approach for trust and safety, which looks at people, policy, and products.
When the co-founder Davison was asked at a press conference about the safety and community handling issues of the app, he assured that the company does keep a temporary encrypted buffer recording of the audio of the room, which is solely used for purposes of investigation. However, this recording is deleted if someone does not report the room.
Features coming up
An interesting fact is, it is an invite-only app but Davison mentioned that it will not remain so. He also said the idea was never to build an invite-driven, iOS-only service, and the reason they introduced this was, that it was a small team and they wanted to scale the app properly.
Clubhouse’s founders said they plan to add support for more languages soon on the app, but there were no specifics on which Indian languages will be supported and how soon this will roll out. The app has been a hit in Kerala, and there are plenty of rooms taking place in Malayalam on the platform since the launch on Android. Given India is an Android-dominated market, it is not surprising to see the app doing better on the platform.