Facebook rolls out bandwidth-saving ‘Facebook Lite’ app for emerging markets

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Facebook has reportedly rolled out a new Android app dubbed ‘Facebook Lite’ which has been designed specifically for users in emerging markets.

“This version of Facebook uses less data and works in all network conditions,” the Facebook Lite Google Play listing reads. It adds that the app is less than 1MB (precisely 252KB) in size and designed “for people on 2G (second-generation) connections or in areas of limited Internet accessibility.”

With the new app, users can perform all basic functions like post status updates with photos, message friends, have group conversations, comment on people’s posts and receive notifications same as the original Facebook messenger app. The only difference is that the new ‘Lite’ will use less data and function well despite network speeds.

The new app version is based on Facebook’s feature phone client called Snaptu and runs on Android 2.2 devices and up.

Although Facebook has not officially announced the launch, it has rolled out the new app in a handful of Asian and African countries including Nepal, Nigeria, Bangladesh, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe, where the app is being tested with a view to further expansions. It’s not available in the US or the UK.

Over 10,000 people have downloaded the app so far, with a 4.6 rating from an initial 693 reviewers.