Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the release of the Facebook Lite app on Thursday, according to a Facebook post. The new app is available for Android, and it only takes up 1 MB of storage space. The normal Facebook app takes up about 25 MB of storage space. Facebook Lite will "work to serve the entire world," according to Zuckerberg's Facebook post, by allowing people in developing nations to get fast access to the app even if mobile networks in that area are very slow, according to CNN.
The new version of the app uses less data and installs and loads quickly without a great mobile connection, according to USA Today. The app has been stripped down to is main features — users can post status updates, photos, and can access their notifications and newsfeeds, which helps the app use significantly less data. Users won't be able to watch video on the app, because it requires too much data, according to NBC News.
This move is part of a larger push by Facebook to reach emerging markets, which are developing countries with growing, but limited, access to Internet and mobile networks. In May, Facebook launched Internet.org, which offers users in certain countries access to some mobile services for free with the hopes of getting more people in low-income and rural areas online, according to NBC.
Zuckerberg said Facebook is rolling out Facebook Lite across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Almost 80 percent of smartphone subscriptions added between 2015 and 2020 will be from Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, according to Ericsson, a multinational communications and technology provider. Vijay Shankar, product manager for Facebook Lite, said in a statement that the new app was built for these emerging markets, according to USA Today:
In many areas, networks can be slow and not able to support all the functionality found in Facebook for Android. Facebook Lite was built for these situations, giving people a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum.
By the end of 2016, India is expected to beat out the U.S. for the largest population of mobile Facebook users, according to marketing research cited by NBC. Zuckerberg didn't mention when the app would come to the U.S., but he did say that it would be available in the Google Play store. Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post that the 1-MB app will take seconds to download and that it will help connect even more people:
We’re going to keep working to serve the entire world, and we'll keep building tools for people in every community until we're all connected.