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Facebook launches Live Audio, its version of podcasts

The social network continues its push in live media. This time, video is not included.

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Facebook is launching its version of podcasts.

Facebook

Facebook's latest innovation: podcasts?

The social network said Tuesday it's launching a new feature called Facebook Live Audio, which is like video live-streaming on Facebook but with no video. So, radio. It's Facebook radio.

To kick things off, the company is partnering with media outlets including BBC World Service and Harper Collins. Facebook said it will expand the feature next year to let other publishers and people use it, but the company didn't give a specific timeline.

The new feature is the latest in Facebook's effort to push live media, as it tries to get its 1.8 billion users to spend as much time on its site as possible.

The social network has invested heavily in live video, even creating a dedicated tab for videos at the bottom of the Facebook app -- some of the most prime real estate in the mobile world. The company last week also introduced 360-live videos -- more immersive scenes where viewers can look up, down and around in a video.

But audio-only is a new route. The company points out that one of the advantages is for people in areas with low bandwidth, where videos don't load as smoothly.

If you're listening to a Live Audio stream on an iPhone, there's a catch. You have to stay in Facebook's app. If you're on a phone that runs Google's Android mobile software, you can leave the app to do other things on your phone.