Guru Gyan
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Guru Gyan

Inside the exclusive ‘Clubhouse’

Launched less than a year ago, the invite-only audio-chat social networking app has caught the attention of many. And now China has banned it. Why?

What happened?

China blocked the U.S. audio app Clubhouse on Monday as users from China started posting in the country’s social media apps that they were having issues accessing the Clubhouse app. Some showed screenshots of a message the app displayed when they tried to open it which said a secure connection to the server could not be made, reported Reuters.

The ban comes days after many users from China were taking part in discussions on topics that included sensitive issues such as Xinjiang detention camps, Taiwan independence and Hong Kong’s National Security Law. And now many feel that the app is unlikely to return in the country, given how much its model would have to change to comply with Chinese internet regulation.

It would not be the only social media app to be blocked in China. Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and such are banned in the country on the back of tight internet regulations by the Chinese Communist Party.

Invite only

If you haven’t heard about this app or want to know what is all the hype about related to this app, we are here to get you covered.

Launched in early 2020, Clubhouse is an invite-only voice-based app which is currently in beta testing and available only to iOS users for now. Like an exclusive club, one has to get an invitation to use the app. Once you are in, you can start or listen into conversations on a whole host of topics. No text, images, or videos — only audios.

The app has changed its logo icon, as it announced on twitter on Monday.

The next big thing

The social networking app’s global user numbers soared earlier this month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev held a surprise discussion on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg has also made an appearance on the network. Tech industry bigshots, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and celebrities have started joining the platform. Many are also predicting the app to be the next big thing.

The app had just 1,500 users in May 2020, and now, as of February 1, 2021, it has 2 million users. The app had raised $1 billion in its Series B funding last year, led by US-based venture firm Andreesen Horowitz.

Will it remain exclusive?

As per the blog post by its founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, the app is not intended to be exclusive. They added that they just aren’t ready to ship the general release version yet and want to ensure the product can handle more people before moving from a beta to a general release.

The app has also announced forthcoming new features, like tipping, tickets or subscriptions, to directly pay creators on the app.

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