Twitter is officially delving into the world of podcasts. The social network announced today that it’s integrating podcasts into its platform as part of its newly designed Spaces tab. The revamped Spaces tab and the addition of podcasts will be visible to a group of global English-speaking audience on iOS and Android starting today.
The redesign introduces personalized hubs for users called “Stations” that group content together based on different topics, such as news, music, sports and more. The recommendations that you see will be based on the themes and people that you follow. Twitter users will now be able to access a personalized selection of live and recorded Spaces. The hubs will also feature the most popular podcasts from around the world. Once you come across podcasts, you can give a podcast a thumbs up or thumbs down to let Twitter know if the content is interesting to you.
Once you open the Spaces Tab, you will see three sections. The top of the tab will show you Stations, which scroll horizontally and showcase different themes and Topics to listen to. Below that, you will see Spaces spotlight, which lists some of the top curated audio content. Lastly, you’ll see a list of upcoming Spaces.
“Integrating podcasts into Spaces, where audio conversations happen on Twitter, is another way we’re continuing to invest in audio creators,” Twitter said in a blog post. “To do this in a simple and intuitive way that allows listeners to simply hit play and go, we started with a redesigned audio experience in the Spaces Tab.”
Twitter says its internal research indicates that 45% of people who use Twitter in the U.S. also listen to podcasts monthly, so now the company will automatically suggest podcasts to help users discover content based on the topics they’re interested in.
When asked if Twitter has a timeline on a wider rollout or desktop launch of podcasts, a spokesperson for the social network told TechCrunch that the company will gather feedback on the initial test and build out the feature in the near future.
Today’s announcement isn’t exactly a surprise, given that the social network has been spotted testing a podcast addition for the past couple of months. However, initial tests indicated that Twitter was working on a dedicated podcasts tab, but today’s launch shows that Twitter is instead interested in making podcasts a part of Spaces, as opposed to giving them their own home on the platform.
Twitter says the addition of podcasts are part of its plans to provide users with an “all-in-one, personalized audio destination” by giving users even more audio content to listen to.
Twitter’s entrance into the world of podcasts comes as Meta’s Facebook recently shut down its podcast service barely a year after its launch. The company also discontinued its short-form audio Soundbites feature and its Audio hub. The change came as Meta was said to be prioritizing short-video projects above other initiatives, likely due to increasing competition from popular short-form video app TikTok.
Given Facebook’s departure from podcasts, Twitter’s foray into the audio format could give it an edge over other social media networks if it’s able to scale them successfully.
It’s worth noting that today’s announcement comes as Twitter’s former head of security Peiter “Mudge” Zatko has alleged that Spaces lacks proper moderation. Zatko made the claim in an explosive whistleblower complaint. Zatko says a Twitter executive incorrectly told staff and board members in December 2021 that the feature was being appropriately moderated but that he discovered that “about half of Spaces content flagged for review was in a language that the moderators did not speak, and there was little to no moderation happening.”
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