The Facebook Lite app is designed for use in developing countries where mobile data services can be spotty, slow and with low-bandwidth.
Full, data-hungry apps such as the standard Facebook Android app with its auto-playing videos and image-rich News Feed are difficult to use in any situation where mobile data is poor.
Facebook’s first attempt at making a lighter variant of its service was Facebook Zero – a stripped-down website that the social network partnered with mobile phone networks in some countries.
A Facebook Lite website was also created for a similar purpose, but has now graduated into app form, which enables a richer experience and potentially lower data use as assets such as logos and buttons can be stored locally in the app.
The new app will be less than 1MB in size, and includes the News Feed, status updates, photos, notifications and other bits and pieces familiar to users of the social network.
Facebook Lite is rolling out in countries across Asia and will be arriving in parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe over the next few weeks.
Considering that many parts of Britain and the US struggle with poor data connections, especially in densely populated cities and rural areas with weak signal, a lighter, more streamlined Facebook app that works when all others don’t could make it a very attractive prospect.
Facebook did not confirm whether the app would be available in UK stores, however.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Friday 5th June 2015 12.04 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010