Facebook rolls out stripped back version of its flagship app to developing countries.

June 08, 2015

New app to roll out in the coming weeks.

Following a quiet rollout in a handful of countries, Facebook’s stripped-down, data-efficient Android app is finally ready for primetime.

The social network officially launched Facebook Lite, the barebones version of its app, in Asia on Thursday. The company said it will roll out more broadly in Europe, Latin America and Africa “in the coming weeks.”

Facebook’s lightweight version aims to provide “a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum,” the company wrote in a statement Thursday. People in areas with slow or unreliable network connections will still be able to use core parts of Facebook — including News Feed, messages, photos and notifications — while stripping out more bandwidth-hungry parts of the user experience like Facebook Messenger, for example.

Although it doesn’t look nearly as polished as Facebook’s flagship app, the main advantage of the less-than-1-MB Android app is that it’s fast and doesn’t require sophisticated hardware or an LTE connection to load. LTE and often even 3G connections are a relative rarity in many markets that Facebook is targeting, such as those in Africa.

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