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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

The social audio craze that exploded during pandemic-driven lockdowns looks like it is here to stay, thanks to big investments from Silicon Valley.

Driving the news: Clubhouse said Sunday it closed a new Series C funding, valuing the buzzy live audio app at $4 billion, sources tell Axios. That's an astonishing number for an app that's still in beta and has no revenue.

  • The round is being led by Andrew Chen at Andreessen Horowitz. Other participants include DST Global, Tiger Global, and Elad Gil.

Meanwhile, Facebook is looking to roll out a suite of new audio products on Monday, Recode reports.

  • Facebook is reportedly eyeing a podcast product, a live audio app that could rival Clubhouse, and an asynchronous voice messaging feature that lets users leave voice messages for one another on their News Feeds.
  • Spotify last month acquired Betty Labs, an app developer, and a live audio app developed by Betty Labs called Locker Room. Axios' Dan Primack reported that the deal was worth around $80 million and Spotify paid in cash.
  • Twitter's audio feature Spaces is reportedly soon coming to desktop.
  • Discord last month debuted Stage Channel, a feature for audio-only chat rooms.
  • Apple could well deliver its own audio news as part of a product launch event Tuesday. The company declined to comment ahead of the event, but a paid podcast product has long been rumored.

Yes, but: The audio craze, still in its infancy, is already beginning to reckon with the difficulties of moderating voice at scale.

What to watch: Big social media platforms are increasingly finding ways to offload content moderation onto users or third parties as they push more aggressively into new areas, like voice, that are difficult to monitor in real time.

The bottom line: Tech giants already struggling with moderation challenges are jumping headfirst into audio anyway because, for the moment at least, it is hot.

Go deeper: The pandemic has been a boon for audio

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Sports

Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Katie Ledecky at the Tokyo Games. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Katie Ledecky took home the Olympic gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Of note: The Tokyo Games mark the first time that the long-distance race has been open to women, and Ledecky paid tribute to her predecessors after the race. "I just think of all the great U.S. swimmers who didn’t have a chance to swim that event," she said on NBC.

Updated 30 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Katie Ledecky celebrates with teammate Erica Sullivan after winning the women’s 1500m freestyle final. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

🚨: Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles pulls out of gymnastics team finals, citing her mental health

🎾: "This one sucks more than the others," Naomi Osaka says on upset loss

⚽️: USA women's soccer ties Australia, propelling them to the quarterfinals

🏊‍♀️: Teen swimmer Lydia Jacoby wins first U.S. women's Tokyo Games gold

👟: World Athletics president supports reviewing marijuana rules in doping

🏄‍♀️: American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker

Activision Blizzard CEO calls company's response to suit "tone deaf"

Photo: Bloomberg/ Getty Images

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent a lengthy letter to employees late on Tuesday, listing steps the company will take to address widespread allegations of sexist and discriminatory conduct at the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" gaming company.

Why it matters: This was the most comprehensive message from the company, and a softer one than had been sent by Kotick's PR people and a top executive last week.