By RIO ROSE RIBAYA
As the original was published on 5 February 2015
Facebook has been testing a lightweight version of its app for mobile phones with poor quality of Internet in emerging markets, the social networking giant announced last week.
Called Facebook Lite, the new mobile app is optimized for low-end Android devices in a limited number of countries across Asia and Africa.
TechCrunch, a Technology news website, reported that these countries include Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.
The Facebook Lite app is only 252KB, a size that is substantially lower than the 70.1MB Facebook iOS app and the 25MB Facebook Android app, it added.
In an email sent to Forbes, a spokesman for Facebook explained that the Facebook Lite App is actually designed for people using second generation or 2G connections or in areas with limited Internet accessibility.
Based on Facebook’s feature phone client called Snaptu, the new app runs on Android 2.2 devices and up and is perfect for people with simple mobile phones.
The move, Forbes explained, actually expands Facebook’s efforts to further expand the world’s biggest social network that already has over a billion users around the world.
Most of Facebook’s growth is coming from emerging markets, but many people lack the phones or computers needed for the full-featured app.
The “lite” version can allow users with low-cost Android handsets to quickly load Facebook feeds and photos.
In August 2013, Facebook chief executive officer and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg partnered with six mobile companies to launch an initiative called Internet.org.
The goal of Internet.org is to bring Internet access to people around the world by increasing affordability and efficiencies.
Over 85 percent of the global population lives in areas that have existing cellular coverage, but only 30 percent of the total population accesses the Internet, according to the International Business Times.
This, it noted, prompted Zuckerberg and Internet.org to launch an app that is available in several emerging markets and offers access to AccuWeather, eZeLibrary, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Facts For Life, Google Search, Go Zambia Jobs, Kokoliko, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), Wikipedia, Women’s Rights App (WRAPP) and Zambia uReport.