When there’s a new hot social media app, you can bet that powerhouses like Facebook are going to create their own copy (that is, if they can’t buy the new app outright). We’ve seen Facebook purchase Instagram, and emulate the features of competitor apps they couldn’t purchase — like Snapchat and TikTok — for their own platforms.
Now, with Alpha Exploration’s Clubhouse consistently growing in popularity, the copycat pattern is no different.
According to insiders, Facebook has started building an audio chat product to compete with the rapidly expanding chat app. But, the competitor that Clubhouse might have to keep a closer eye on is Twitter. Twitter has been testing a new product called Spaces, which is also suspiciously similar to Clubhouse.
But, why would the new crop of Clubhouse influencers move over to older apps if they’ve already established a presence on Clubhouse? Well, there’s the obvious reason: that users who already have a following on apps like Twitter and Facebook can simplify their lives by sticking to one app. There’s also the fact that Clubhouse has come under fire for allowing misinformation (like COVID conspiracy theories) to spread unchecked. But another motive for switching from Clubhouse to a competitor has nothing to do with longevity, it has to do with drama.
Just like other social media apps, there’s no rhyme or reason for who gets to use Clubhouse. You have to secure an invite to set up a profile, but even after getting a golden ticket, you can just as easily be kicked off the app. Users have taken to Reddit to complain about being kicked off the app due to the actions of someone they invited to the app. Other users, like serial entrepreneur and investor Mario Nawfal, have had multiple run-ins with blackmailers who threaten to block his account if they’re not paid a large sum of money. Eventually, Mario, who had established a presence as a thought leader on the platform, got temporarily suspended from the app due to unfounded rumors (he is still suspended at the time of this article’s publication).
And what does an influencer do when they’re not able to connect with their followers on their usual app? They turn to another one. Nawfal has allegedly been running rooms on Twitter Spaces — which is still in beta stage — since his suspension from Clubhouse. If Nawfal sees similar results to his early days on Clubhouse — where he reached 1k listeners in one week — it can only be assumed that he’ll stick with Twitter.
Other popular Clubhouse users have faced similar struggles with Clubhouse including unfair suspensions, unfounded rumors, trolling and harassment on the platform. Many have vowed to leave the booming app as soon as mature competitors, including Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and Discord launch their rival copycats.
On the other hand, Twitter has been criticized in the past for not kicking users off soon enough, although they have shown signs of a bolder policy since banning Donald Trump permanently in January. That being said, Twitter’s veteran status in the social media space and more advanced tools to block harassment makes one assume that Twitter Spaces may not have the same issues that Clubhouse has been having with some of their most followed users.
So, will Clubhouse continue to establish themselves as an up and coming app for users to establish their influence on? Or will they go the way of Periscope, Vine, or even Snapchat and eventually fall flat to the larger — and more experienced — social media players? Only time will tell.