Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg follows Elon Musk with surprise Clubhouse chat

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg follows Elon Musk with surprise Clubhouse chat

by Lily White
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently got a Clubhouse invite.

James Martin/CNET

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance on the invite-only, audio-based social app Clubhouse on Thursday night. The news comes less than a week after Tesla’s Elon Musk did the same.

Zuckerberg talked about Facebook’s Reality Labs group, noting how virtual reality and augmented reality technology can widen the scope for remote work, according to Business Insider, which reported on the visit earlier.

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“We should be teleporting, not transporting, ourselves,” Zuckerberg said, according to venture capitalist Josh Constine. 

Like many companies, Facebook shifted toward remote work in a big way in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In May, Zuckerberg said that about half of Facebook’s employees could be working remotely over the next five to 10 years.

In Thursday’s chat, the Facebook chief noted that VR and AR let people appear more present than a video-chatting app like Zoom does.

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Zuckerberg appeared on a show in Clubhouse that focuses on tech and culture. Called The Good Time Show, it’s hosted by Sriram Krishnan, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz who’s previously worked at Facebook and Twitter, and Aarthi Ramamurthy, a Facebook product director. The husband-and-wife duo were scheduled to talk to Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who leads Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality efforts, on Thursday night.

In a “Tech After Party” on Clubhouse following the show, Ramamurthy said that Bosworth had mentioned Zuckerberg could join The Good Time Show for a few minutes and that the surprise appearance was “all very sudden.” Fidji Simo, who leads the Facebook App, also dropped by.

The appearance of Facebook executives on an invite-only audio app sparked concern for some people that the service gives tech companies another way to evade tough questions.

“FB execs going on Clubhouse shows CH is all about tight control over messaging and avoiding hard questions and accountability,” Ellen Pao, former CEO of social media company Reddit tweeted on Thursday night.

In response, Bosworth tweeted that he’s done interviews with the press where he gets tough questions. “I’m friends with these people. Everything I do in public isn’t about journalism,” he said, referring to his appearance on Clubhouse.

Zuckerberg, whose username is @zuck23 on Clubhouse, had roughly 31,900 followers on the app as of Friday.

Correction, 11:58 a.m. PT: Fixes given name of venture capitalist Josh Constine.

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