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Cheap Phone And Poor Data? Now There's A Facebook For You.

Facebook has launched yet another standalone app, this time a smaller version of themselves just for Android users.

Without any announcements or fuss, Facebook Lite was launched a week ago in a few select countries. The social media app was developed specifically for lower-end Android phones, taking up just 252KB of memory. It is said to work better in countries with poor Internet connections and 2G.

Image Credit: Techcrunch
Image Credit: TechCrunch

It has the basic features of a Facebook app, allowing users to update their profile with either texts or photos, get push notifications when friends like and comment on posts, and look up their friends on their newsfeed.

It has now been launched in countries within Asia and Africa known for their poor connectivity – namely Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Part Of The Bigger Picture

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has turned its eye to these countries. Last year, Facebook launched Internet.org, a collaboration with several companies including Samsung, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm, aimed to bring affordable Internet access to the 5 billion people without it.

Zuckerberg himself also wrote a paper titled “Is Human Connectivity A Human Right?”, in which he reiterates Facebook’s commitment to connecting the world. According to the paper, the current Internet adoption rate is growing at 9% each year, a small number considering the level of development the world is seeing these days.

It seems that Facebook Lite is a continuation of this commitment. It is part of Facebook’s attempt at making the most popular method of connecting with the world as accessible as possible.

“(…) Most people have heard of services like Facebook and messaging and they want access to them. If we can provide people with access to these services, then they’ll discover other content they want and begin to use and understand the broader Internet,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Reception

The app has done well so far, obtaining over 10,000 downloads already according to TechCrunch. It has also gotten a 4.6-star rating on Google Play store, determined by 776 reviewers, with most reviews citing its low data usage as their saving grace.

Image Credit: Google Play
Image Credit: Google Play
Image Credit: Google Play
Image Credit: Google Play

However, some comments do cite a number of user interface issues, with some reviewers saying that they are unable to do basic tasks like liking a photo in their newsfeed, or tagging friends in comments.

Despite all this, it may actually be one of the better standalone apps that Facebook has been pushing out. With apps like Rooms and Groups leaving users questioning their feasibility, this app actually improves upon the Facebook user experience beyond simply creating an app for every feature of Facebook. While it still suffers from a lacking UI, it may just be enough to keep everyone from replacing their main Facebook app with Facebook Lite – because the amount of data it saves may just be enough to sway me.

 

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