Here’s What We Know About Clubhouse, The New App That’s Dominating Social Media

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A new audio-based social media platform has skyrocketed in popularity lately, attracting users who are craving the human interaction that was taken away by the coronavirus pandemic.

Clubhouse is currently the fifth most popular social media app on the Apple store, trailing behind only Facebook, Messenger, Discord, and WhatsApp. The app’s developer, Alpha Exploration Co., describes the platform as a “space for casual, drop-in audio conversations” with friends or celebrities around the world.

Users need to be invited by someone who is already on Clubhouse or join a waitlist in order to create an account. After making an account, users can join conversations with celebrities or enter chat rooms dedicated to specific topics. The social media platform has an impressive 4.9/5 stars on the app store. (RELATED: Kremlin Open To Potential Social Media Collaboration Between Putin And Elon Musk)

The app has attracted massive investments less than a year after it was launched, raising $100 million in January according to a Wall Street Journal report. In September of 2020, there were about 2,000 monthly downloads of Clubhouse – in January, there were 2.4 million downloads, data from the app-research company Sensor Tower Inc showed according to the outlet.

China banned the app in early February, according to the New York Times, after discussion over whether or not to believe there were concentration camps for Muslims in the Xinjiang region. An Uighur woman reportedly spoke up and said she was positive the camps were real because she had relatives that were imprisoned there. Not long after, the app was banned, according to the NYT.

Fact-checkers have already combed through the app looking for people spreading false information, which is specifically prohibited under the platform’s guidelines. When a fact-checker for the nonprofit research organization The Poynter Institute joined Clubhouse and searched for misinformation, they were surprised to not find any.

“No COVID-19 falsehoods? No political disinformation? That is a weird platform,” Cristina Tardáguila and Harrison Mantas wrote in a Poynter article.

The New York Times wrote that “unfettered conversations are taking place on Clubhouse.”

“The platform has exploded in popularity, despite grappling with concerns over harassment, misinformation and privacy,” the Times wrote.

Olivia Smith, a writer for the news outlet GritDaily, expressed concerns that there was “no path to accountability” on the app because it doesn’t keep logs of old conversations and prevents users from recording.

“There is no way to prove that someone said anything controversial at all,” she said. “Users on Clubhouse know, or at least believe, that they can openly speak their mind with zero repercussions.”

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