Facebook Lite: slimmed-down and sped-up Android app released

Network hopes that new app can help it get into emerging markets, where data can be expensive and coverage can be spotty

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The Independent Tech

Facebook has reduced a much smaller, data-light version of its Android app, which it helps will get people in emerging markets onto the service.

The company said that in some areas, slow networks mean that people can’t get access to the full features of Facebook for Android. “Facebook Lite was built for these situations, giving people a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum,” wrote Vijay Shankar, product manager for the new app, in a blogpost introducing it.

Facebook has been adding new, data-heavy features to its mobile apps and website in recent years — auto-playing videos, in particular, can use huge chunks of data and slow down performance. The company previously made a lighter version of its website under the Facebook Zero banner, and has now rolled that out to the Android app.

The reduction in extra functionality means that it has been reduced to 1MB, making it quick to install and not taking up too much space on cheaper, smaller phones. But it still includes Facebook’s central features, like the news feed, photos and notifications.

The app will be initially rolled out in Asia. It will then be made available in parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe, it said.