Facebook Lite comes to the US and other developed countries

Facebook revenue, user growth falls short of expectations
Facebook via CNN

Facebook is bringing the minimalist version of its app to some developed countries, including the United States.

Facebook Lite is a pared down version of the social network’s mobile app. It is designed as a way for people with older phones, limited data plans, or slow and intermittent internet connections to access Facebook.

On Thursday, Android users in the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand were able to download Facebook Lite.

Addressing slow or limited internet access is part of the company’s ongoing quest to get the next billion people to sign up for Facebook accounts.

In 2009, the company launched Facebook Lite as a bare-bones version of its website. In 2015, it began offering Facebook Lite as an app. The app originally launched in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, and eventually expanded to more than 100 countries.

“We want everyone to have a great Facebook experience regardless of where they connect or the bandwidth they have access to,” Facebook said in a statement. “Facebook Lite is now available in even more countries, so anyone can access Facebook features regardless of where they are connecting.”

I tested Facebook Lite on an Android phone. The retro-looking design crams more onto the screen by using smaller text, less white space, and simplified graphics. It lacks the animated swiping and bouncing flourishes you might be used to from Facebook Heavy.

All the core Facebook features are present. You can like, comment on or share the posts in your feed, and upload photos and videos. Some power- and bandwidth-hogs are missing, including Facebook Live and the Watch section.

If you’re not worried about data, struggling with shoddy internet connections, or using an old Android phone, there’s not much advantage to using Lite. It’s not unpleasant, but it probably won’t help you cut down on Facebook usage.