Music platform Spotify has launched an audio-based platform called Greenroom on Thursday, 17 June, which rivals the popular category of live-streaming voice chat apps such as Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces.
Greenroom allows listeners to tune in to rooms and participate in live conversations. The creator of the room controls who speaks in the room.
Spotify features music, sports, and culture as topics of discussion, although a user can create a room about any topic.
If you are wondering as to which audio app – Clubhouse, Spotify and Spaces – is safer and has better ways to block hate content, here’s a comparison based on the features.
Clubhouse gained massive traction when it was launched in India. The platform particularly grew popular after Elon Musk and Niki Minaj , who have massive followings, hosted live conversation on the platform. Meanwhile, Twitter Spaces has grown the complete opposite.
Spaces is accessible to all users unlike Clubhouse. Most importantly, you don't need an invitation to join the platform.
Clubhouse implies a club system. A club implies exclusivity which means you had to know someone who was in the club and who would invite you, which is not the case with Spaces.
Greenroom launched on 17 June, so it would be unfair to compare reach and accessibility of Greenroom with Clubhouse or Spaces. All the apps are currently available on both Android and iOS platforms.
Clubhouse's terms of services prohibits recording conversations without a speaker’s permission however, it has no way of actually preventing anyone from recording anything.
Users on Clubhouse are constantly recording and leaking audio, especially if anyone famous or noteworthy is in the chat. This can be done simply by using any screen-recording softwares.
While it is understandable that there is nothing any audio platforms can do to stop recording the live chat through external softwares, it would be a good idea for Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces to be more transparent with users and remind them to speak with that assumption in mind.
In an interview with The Verge, Twitter head of consumer product Kayvon Beykpour said that the notion of letting the audience pick sound bites and share them as clips could be really powerful.
"Now, the challenge with that is you have a sort of a really challenging consent issue because you have the host’s intent in mind of, does the host want this conversation to be preserved or shared? [Then] there’s the speakers, who are a different actor than the host. Their consent is really important," he said, as quoted by The Verge.
Live sessions in Spaces are recorded and retained for 30 days, but only for moderation purposes. The Twitter Help Center says that hosts can download a copy of their Space data as long as Twitter still has it.
Twitter's audio app competitor, Clubhouse, records conversations as well, but the data is only kept while the room is still live.
Meanwhile, Greenroom has stringent policy regarding recording conversation on its platform. The policy states: “Recording any part of the content, on Greenroom which is not expressly permitted under the Terms or applicable law may result in removal of immediate termination or suspension of your account.”
While, Clubhouse and Spaces do not have any such policy of suspending a user account directly if found recording.
With instances of hate and bigotry have been recorded on Clubhouse. Several media reports suggest that rooms on Love Jihad and Islamophobia which propel hate speech can be easily found on Clubhouse.
According to Boom, a popular club called 'Hind, Hindu, Hindutva' with over 4.4k followers, regularly hosts such discussions.
It should be noted that such hate rooms on love jihad, casteism can be found both on Spaces and Clubhouse. However, what matters is how these platforms treat such rooms.
Clubhouse states that offensive conversations can be reported only by “reporting” individual users. There is no guideline on how to report entire conversations or rooms.
Both Spaces and Clubhouse have very poor content moderation policies. These platforms do not have any explicit policy on hate rooms and do not use any AI-based methods to block such rooms or speakers.
Spotify's Greenroom has explicitly defined what kind of content is prohibited: The content moderation rules read, "Hate content is content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. We don't allow hate content on Spotify."
Greenroom also uses AI to moderate and automatically block any spiteful content posted on its platform. But how effectively it regulates hate speech remains to be seen.
Reporting an incident
Clubhouse does not have any guideline on how to report entire conversations or rooms.
The guidelines say that if a user reports another user in real time and from a live room, Clubhouse can “retain the temporary, encrypted audio recording for the purpose of investigating the incident.”
However, if a user wants to report a past incident, there is no provision to hold on to the audio recording.
Meanwhile, If you are listening to live audio on Greenrooms , and find content that violates any of its community guidelines , you can report it by either clicking on the user profile or by simply contacting the customer support team.
If you think a space violates the Twitter Rules, you can report it while in the Space by tapping the icon and tapping Report this Space. Anyone in the Space can report it. Speakers and Listeners can report a Space and any account in a Space.
Which App is Better?
While all the platforms provide live audio interaction, the major difference is how content is moderated in these apps.
Spotify's community guidelines have emerged as the clear winner here, as the platform have defined the topics that you can talk about on their platform unlike Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces.
It should be noted that social audio apps with better non-partisan content moderation will survive the onslaught of hate and bigotry.
If we talk about in-app features, users can easily schedule rooms in Clubhouse. However, for tech unsavvy users , Clubhouse might seem a bit more complex than the simplicity which Twitter or Greenrooms offer.